Glaucoma is the second most common cause of world blindness (following cataract) with estimated cases reaching 79.6 million by 2020. Although the etiology of glaucoma is multi-factorial, intraocular pressure (IOP) is the only modifiable factor in glaucoma management proven to alter the natural course of the disease. Among various classes of IOP-lowering medications currently available, alpha-adrenergic receptor agonists are used either as monotherapy, as second-line therapy, or in fixed combination with beta-blockers. Non-selective adrenergic agonists such as epinephrine and dipivefrin are infrequently used today for the treatment of glaucoma or ocular hypertension, and have been replaced by the alpha-2-selective agonists. The use of apraclonidine for IOP reduction in glaucoma or OHT is limited due to a high rate of follicular conjunctivitis. The alpha-2-selective agonist in use today is brimonidine. The brimonidine-purite formulations are preferred to brimonidine-benzalkonium chloride (BAC) formulations due better tolerability while maintaining similar efficacy. Brimonidine is also effective when used in combination with a beta-blocker. Using brimonidine-timolol fixed combination (BTFC) as first-line therapy has an added potential for neuroprotection. This would be a valuable strategy for glaucoma treatment, for patients who are intolerant of prostaglandin analogs, or for patients where prostaglandin analogues are contraindicated as first-line therapy, such as in patients with inflammatory glaucoma.
- Compliance and cost of alpha-agonists
- Fixed combinations
- Ocular blood flow
- Safety and efficacy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience