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Pilocarpine, Ophthalmic


What are other names for this medicine?

Type of medicine: antiglaucoma; miotic

Generic and brand names: pilocarpine, ophthalmic; Isopto Carpine

What is this medicine used for?

This medicine is used to treat high pressure in the eyes. High pressure in the eyes occurs with glaucoma and other conditions.

This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as determined by your healthcare provider.

What should my healthcare provider know before I take this medicine?

Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had:

  • An allergic reaction to any medicine
  • Asthma or breathing problems
  • Eye disease or other eye problems
  • Heart disease or blood pressure problems
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Thyroid problems
  • Trouble urinating

Females of childbearing age: Talk with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Do not breast-feed while taking this medicine without your healthcare provider’s approval.

How do I use it?

Check the label on the medicine for directions about your specific dose. Use this medicine exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed.

Check with your healthcare provider before using this medicine in children under age 18.

If you have the eyedrops:

Wash your hands thoroughly before and after applying medicine to your eyes. Tilt your head back and gently pull your lower eyelid down to form a pouch. Hold the dropper directly above your eye, look up, and squeeze the prescribed number of drops of the medicine into the pouch. Close your eyes for a minute or two and with a fingertip press gently on the inside corner of your eye to keep the medicine from draining out. Do not rub your eyes.

If you are using the ointment:

Wash your hands before and after putting medicine in your eyes. Hold the tube of ointment in your hand for a minute or two to warm the medicine so it will flow easily from the tube. When you use the medicine for the first time, squeeze out a little of the medicine and throw it away because it may be dry. Look up, and gently pull your lower eyelid down to form a pouch. Holding the tube directly above your eye, squeeze a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch ribbon of ointment into the pouch. Close your eyes for a minute or two and roll your eyes in all directions to spread the medicine around. Do not rub your eyes.

To avoid contaminating the medicine, do not let the tip of the dropper touch your eye or any other surface. After use, put the cap on tightly.

Do not use eyedrops that are discolored. Have your pharmacist check your eyedrops if you are not sure.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for the next scheduled dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and use the next one as directed. Do not use double doses. If you are not sure of what to do if you miss a dose, or if you miss more than one dose, contact your healthcare provider.

What if I overdose?

If you or anyone else has intentionally taken too much of this medicine, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away. If you pass out, have seizures, weakness or confusion, or have trouble breathing, call 911. If you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much of this medicine, call the poison control center. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. The poison control center number is 800-222-1222.

Symptoms of an acute overdose may include: flushing, pinpoint pupils, nausea, vomiting, wheezing, shortness of breath, incontinence.

What should I watch out for?

Your doctor may want to check your eye pressure regularly.

This medicine may blur or change your vision for a short time after you use it. You may not be able to see as well at night or in dim light. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that requires good vision unless you can see clearly.

If you wear contact lenses, ask your doctor if you can continue to wear them while you are using this medicine.

Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you are using any other medicines in your eyes. You may need to allow some time between applications of these products or to stop using the other medicines.

If you need emergency care, surgery, or dental work, tell the healthcare provider or dentist you are using this medicine.

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its needed effects, your medicine may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medicine. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.

Life-threatening (Report these to your healthcare provider right away. If you cannot reach your healthcare provider right away, get emergency medical care or call 911 for help.): Allergic reaction (hives; itching; rash; trouble breathing; chest pain or tightness in your chest; swelling of your lips, tongue, and throat).

Serious (contact your healthcare provider right away): Trouble breathing, tightness in your chest, flushing, loss of bladder control, sweating, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, watering of mouth, muscle tremors, veil or curtain appearing across part of vision.

Other: Blurred vision or changes in your vision; temporary burning or stinging in your eyes; headache; eye twitching.

What products might interact with this medicine?

When you take this medicine with other medicines, it can change the way this or any of the other medicines work. Nonprescription medicines, vitamins, natural remedies, and certain foods may also interact. Using these products together might cause harmful side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking:

  • Belladonna alkaloids such as scopolamine (Isopto Hyoscine) and homatropine (Isopto Homatropine)
  • Cyclopentolate eye drops (Cyclogyl, AK-Pentolate, Pentolair)
  • Other products in your eyes

If you are not sure if your medicines might interact, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Keep a list of all your medicines with you. List all the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Be sure that you tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all the products you are taking.

How should I store this medicine?

Store this medicine at room temperature. Keep the container tightly closed. Protect it from heat, high humidity, and bright light.

This advisory includes selected information only and may not include all side effects of this medicine or interactions with other medicines. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information or if you have any questions.

Ask your pharmacist for the best way to dispose of outdated medicine or medicine you have not used. Do not throw medicines in the trash.

Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.

Do not share medicines with other people.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Medication Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-03-11
Last reviewed: 2013-04-18
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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