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What is Timolol?

Article Details
  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 16 June 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Timolol is a beta blocker drug that is distributed under various product names which include Betimol®, Blocadren®, Istalol®, and Timoptic®. It is typically used to prevent heart attacks and migraine headaches and to treat high blood pressure. The drug may also be used for conditions of the eye such as glaucoma and high eye pressure. Timolol is administered either orally or in eye drops.

Overall, timolol is used to control or prevent conditions, rather than cure them. As a beta-blocker drug, it helps to ease symptoms by regulating the heartbeat and reducing pressure on the heart. As a preventative measure, it helps to ease strain on the body which could cause less serious conditions to develop into life-threatening diseases and incidents.

In tablet form, timolol is usually prescribed for heart conditions, migraines, and high blood pressure. The drug is often given to patients after they have had a heart attack to lower the chances of a repeat attack. Frequent migraine sufferers may regularly take the drug to lower the frequency of headaches. It is also used to lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

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There is a wide array of other off-label conditions for which timolol tablets may be prescribed. It can be used to ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, social phobia, and performance anxiety. The drug can aid in treatment of arrhythmias, chest pain, and heart failure. Timolol can also be prescribed to patients with cirrhosis of the liver in order to prevent bleeding in the stomach or esophagus.

When administered as eye drops, timolol can be used as a liquid or as an extended-release gel. The drug in eye-drop form is typically prescribed for open angle glaucoma and high eye pressure, also known as ocular hypertension. High eye pressure can often lead to glaucoma and taking timolol may prevent the onset of the disease. Though there is no cure for glaucoma, the drug is often administered to patients with the disease in order to manage symptoms, often in conjunction with traditional or laser surgery.

Timolol is generally tolerated well by most patients. If side effects do appear, they are usually minor and do not require treatment, though it is usually advisable to discuss any side effects experienced with a doctor. The most common side effects include a burning or stinging in the eyes or blurred vision. Patients may also experience nausea, cold hands and feet, and a slow heart rate. Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, is one of the rare severe side effects.

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