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Latanoprost - Brand names: Xalatan, Monopost

1. About latanoprost

Latanoprost is a medicine that treats high pressure inside the eye.

Increased pressure can damage your optic nerve and cause vision loss or blindness. Your doctor may give it to you if you have glaucoma or high pressure in the eye (ocular hypertension).

It's available on prescription only and comes as eyedrops, either in eyedrop bottles with a preservative in, or in single-dose droppers that are preservative-free.

2. Key facts

  • Latanoprost lowers the pressure in your eye by reducing the build-up of fluids.
  • Usually you use latanoprost eyedrops once a day.
  • The eyedrops should help reduce the pressure within 3 to 4 hours.
  • Common side effects include permanent eye colour change, your eyelashes growing longer and thicker, and your eyes becoming more sensitive to light.
  • Latanoprost can also be combined with another medicine (timolol) as a combination eyedrop.

3. Who can and cannot use latanoprost

Latanoprost eyedrops can be used by adults and children including babies.

Latanoprost is not suitable for everyone. To make sure it's safe for you, tell your doctor before starting latanoprost if you:

  • are allergic to latanoprost or any medicine
  • are about to have or have had eye surgery (including cataract surgery)
  • have eye problems (such as eye pain, irritation, inflammation or blurred vision) or dry eyes
  • have severe asthma or your asthma is not controlled
  • wear contact lenses (you can still use latanoprost, but you will need to remove your contact lens before using drops)
  • have ever had or currently have a viral infection of the eye caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV)

4. How and when to use them

Always use latanoprost eyedrops exactly as your doctor told you.

Dosage

The usual dose for adults and children is 1 drop into the affected eye(s) once a day. It's best to do this is in the evening as latanoprost works better then.

It comes as a bottle with an eye dropper or a box of single-use droppers.

How to use eyedrops

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before using your eyedrops. The drops may make your vision blurred if you use them with contact lenses.
  3. If you are using a bottle, remove the lid. If you are using the single-use dropper, twist off the tip.
  4. Make sure the dropper does not touch anything including your eye, eyelashes, eyelid or your skin.
  5. Use your finger to gently pull down your lower eyelid and tilt your head back.
  6. Hold the dropper over your eye, look up, and allow 1 drop to fall into your lower eyelid.
  7. Close your eye. Gently press your finger over the inside corner of your eye (over the eyelid) for about a minute. This helps keep the drops in your eye.
  8. Wipe away any extra liquid with a clean tissue.
  9. Repeat in your other eye if the doctor has told you to do this. There is enough liquid in 1 single-dose dropper to put a drop in both eyes if needed.
  10. Put the cap back on the bottle or if you are using the single-dose dropper, throw it away.

If you use latanoprost with other eyedrops wait at least 5 minutes before using your other eyedrops. The second eyedrops can wash the latanoprost out and it may not work as well.

If you wear contact lenses, wait 15 minutes before putting your lenses back in your eyes.

Expiry dates

Use the latanoprost eyedrops within the expiry date on the bottle and within 4 weeks of opening. This will help to prevent the risk of eye infections and the eyedrops not working so well.

The single-dose droppers come in a silver packet. Once you open the packet, use the droppers within 7 days. Do not use the droppers after the expiry date.

You could write the date you opened the bottle or packet on the label or the box. This will help you know when you need to start using a new one.

What if I forget to use it?

If you forget a dose by more than a couple of hours, skip the missed dose and use your eyedrops as usual the next day.

Never use 2 doses at the same time. Never use an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.

If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember your medicines.

What if I use too much?

Using too many drops can irritate your eye and make it water and turn red. This should get better, but if you are worried about it ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Contact your doctor if you swallow latanoprost accidentally and feel unwell.

5. Side effects

Like all medicines, latanoprost can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them.

Common side effects

These common side effects happen in up to 1 in 10 people.

Keep using the medicine, but talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • change in eye colour – usually seen within 8 months of using the eyedrops. This colour change can be permanent and may be more obvious if you are only using the eyedrops in 1 eye.
  • redness of the eye, inflamed eyelid (blepharitis) or eye infection (conjunctivitis)
  • irritated eye and eye pain (burning, itching, stinging or a feeling as if something's in your eye)
  • changes to your eyelashes (growing longer and thicker)
  • sensitivity to light (photophobia)

Serious side effects

The following side effects are rare and may affect 1 in 1,000 people.

Do not use any more latanoprost and call a doctor straight away if you get:

  • wheezing, difficulty in breathing (asthma or worsening of asthma)
  • fast heart rate (palpitations)

Immediate action required: Call 999 if:

  • you have chest pain

Serious allergic reaction

In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to latanoprost.

Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E now if:

  • you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • you're wheezing
  • you get tightness in the chest or throat
  • you have trouble breathing or talking
  • your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling

You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.

These are not all the side effects of latanoprost. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.

Information:

You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme.

6. How to cope with side effects

What to do about:

  • change in eye colour – talk to your doctor before you start using latanoprost if you are worried about this
  • irritation of the eyes – if within the first 7 days of using latanoprost the eyedrops irritate your eyes and make them water so much that you want to stop using the drops, talk to your doctor straight away. They may prescribe something different for you
  • changes to your eyelashes – your eyelashes usually return to normal after you stop using latanoprost. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you are worried about this

7. Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It's important that your glaucoma is treated while you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Your doctor may prescribe latanoprost if the benefits of the medicine outweigh the risks.

They will help you decide what the best treatment is for you and your baby.

For more information about how medicines to treat glaucoma can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, read this leaflet about treating glaucoma in pregnancy on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS) website.

Important

For safety, tell your pharmacist, midwife or doctor if you're trying to get pregnant, already pregnant, or you're breastfeeding.

8. Cautions with other medicines

There are some medicines that do not mix well with latanoprost and can affect how well it works.

Tell your doctor if you are using eyedrops that work in a similar way to latanoprost including:

  • tafluprost
  • travoprost
  • bimatoprost

If you use 2 of these medicines (including latanoprost) together they can increase the pressure in your eye.

Mixing latanoprost with herbal remedies or supplements

There's very little information about taking herbal medicines and supplements with latanoprost.

Important

For safety, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines, vitamins or supplements.

9. Common questions

How does it work?

Latanoprost is from a group of medicines known as prostaglandins.

It works by increasing the natural flow of liquid from inside your eye into your bloodstream. This lowers the pressure within your eye and stops your sight getting worse.

How long does it take to work?

The pressure in your eye will start to reduce 3 to 4 hours after using the eyedrops.

Latanoprost reaches full effect after 8 to 12 hours, the reduced pressure will last for at least 24 hours.

How long will I use it for?

You will usually use latanoprost for the rest of your life. However, if it does not work well enough your doctor may recommend a different treatment.

It's important to use your eyedrops regularly and go for check-ups, to stop your eyesight getting worse.

Can I take it for a long time?

Yes, you can latanoprost for a long time. Most people take it for many years with no problems.

Can I drink alcohol with it?

Yes, you can drink alcohol with latanoprost.

Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?

You can eat and drink normally while taking latanoprost.

Will it affect my contraception?

Latanoprost does not stop contraceptive pills working, including the combined pill or emergency contraception.

Will it affect my fertility?

There's no clear evidence to suggest that taking latanoprost will reduce fertility in either men or women.

However, speak to a pharmacist or your doctor before taking it if you're trying to get pregnant.

Can I drive or ride a bike?

You might have blurred vision in the first few days of using latanoprost, or after you've just put the drops in. If this happens to you, do not drive a car, ride a bike, or use tools or machinery until you can see clearly again.

Many people with glaucoma can continue driving a car or motorbike, but their eyesight must be up to the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)'s standards.

GOV.UK has more information on glaucoma and driving

Can latanoprost make heart problems worse?

In rare cases, a side effect of latanoprost can be chest pain (angina) and a fast heart rate (palpitations).

However, if you have an existing heart condition such as atrial fibrillation, there are no reports of latanoprost making it worse.

Page last reviewed: 4 May 2020
Next review due: 4 May 2023