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What is Latanoprost?

Article Details
  • Written By: K. K. Lowen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Latanoprost is an eye medication used to treat some types of glaucoma as well as ocular hypertension. The topical treatment, usually sold in the form of eye drops, reduces internal eye pressure by increasing the volume of fluid that flows from the eye. Use of the medication may be beneficial because pressure inside the eye can cause gradual vision loss for people who suffer from glaucoma or hypertension of the eye. Latanoprost may control the potentially damaging effects of both conditions, but will not cure them.

The medication may cause a stinging sensation if applied directly to the eye. One may prevent the discomfort by gently pulling the lower eyelid away from the eye, creating a small space in which to place the eye drops. As with any eye drops, it is important to thoroughly wash hands before and after using latanoprost. Keeping the eye dropper clean is also essential. Users should avoid touching any part of the eye or other surface with the applicator to prevent contamination.

This eye medication may cause some negative side effects. The most frequent side effects are swelling, redness, dryness, burning, itching, and watering of the treated eye. Sometimes the skin of the eyelid darkens, the brown pigmentation in the iris becomes more pronounced, and the eyelashes thicken, darken, and grow longer. Less common side effects include skin rashes, muscle and joint pain, coughing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. Users should seek medical treatment for severe side effects.

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To lower the risk of side effects, patients should follow the dosage guidelines provided by their doctors. Medical providers may prescribe more than one type of topical eye medication at the same time. Patients should wait five minutes between applying each medication to ensure proper absorption.

Some patients may be unable to use latanoprost because of preexisting medical conditions. The medication may worsen some eye diseases, such as iritis or uveitis. Patients should mention any existing eye conditions to a doctor before using the eye treatment. Additionally, people who suffer from kidney and liver disease may not be ideal candidates for treatment.

Geriatric and pregnant patients should seek confirmation from their medical providers about the appropriate use of latanoprost. Elderly patients may wish to be cautious because harmful drug interactions may be possible. Providing doctors with a list of all current medications is essential. Pregnant and breastfeeding patients also should seek medical advice before beginning or continuing the use of latanoprost, because the drug might be dangerous for unborn children and infants. A medical professional can help pregnant and breastfeeding women weigh the pros and cons of using the medication.

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