written by Dr. William McSwain
BETIMOL (Timolol maleate)
ISTALOL (Timolol maleate)
TIMOPTIC (Timolol maleate; available preservative free)
These medications lower eye pressure by reducing the amount of fluid that is made inside the eye.
There may be some burning or stinging in the eye when these medications are first taken. The stinging appears to be somewhat more noticeable with Betoptic as opposed to the other medications.
Beta-blockers may cause asthma to become worse. They also may cause shortness of breath in people with emphysema, bronchitis, or other heart and lung problems. They may slow the heart rhythm and should not be used by people with a slow heart rate or heart block. Heart failure may be made worse by these medications. In rare cases, these medications may be associated with depression or impotence.
Recent studies have shown that Betoptic may be the best choice for use in people with asthma or other conditions affecting the respiratory system. Betoptic may be associated with fewer overall systemic effects as compared with the other beta-blockers. However, Betoptic may not lower the pressure quite as effectively as the other medications.
After administering a drop, keep the eye closed for two minutes and gently compress (with a tissue, if desired) the area over the tear duct near the inner corner of the eyelids. This will make the medication less likely to get into the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body by preventing it from draining from your eye into your nose and the back of your throat.