Eye drops and tablets during pregnancy

The eye drops and tablets listed below may have effects on the developing baby during pregnancy or breast feeding and the use of any of these should be discussed with your doctor.

 

Betablockers pass into the breast milk but adverse effects on the baby are unlikely from normal eye drop doses. The usual ones prescribed are: Timoptol (timolol), Teoptic (carteolol), Betagan (levobunolol) and Betoptic (betaxolol). These are also available without preservative in single dose containers, as well as Metripranolol Minims and Tiopex (timolol).

Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors pass into the breast milk and may reduce the milk supply. They may be in the form of acetazolamide (Diamox) tablets or slow release capsules, they should be avoided during pregnancy. When breastfeeding, it is considered that the amount found in breast milk is too small to cause harm to the baby. Eye drops of dorzolamide (Trusopt) are also available. Their side effects, due to a general absorption, appear to be very much less than when the tablet form is taken by mouth. Brinzolamide (Azopt) and Brinzolamide and Timolol (Azarga) should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly necessary. If you are breastfeeding ask your healthcare professional for advice.

Sympathomimetics – Adrenaline is now not administered to new patients. Theoretically these eye drops could cause increased heart rate in the infant during breastfeeding.

Miotics (Pilocarpine) – There is no evidence of risk to the baby in pregnancy at the doses used for chronic glaucoma. This drug passes into breast milk but adverse effects on the baby are unlikely.

Prostaglandins – Xalatan (latanoprost), Xalacom (combination of latanoprost and timolol), Lumigan (bimatoprost), Ganfort (combination of bimatoprost and timolol), Saflutan (tafluprost) and Travatan (travaprost), Duotrav (combination of travaprost and timolol), Monopost (latanoprost.) None of these are to be used unless clearly necessary.

Alpha 2 Agonist – Brimonidine (Alphagan), brimonidine and timolol (Combigan). The safety of use during pregnancy or breastfeeding has not been established in humans and should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the unborn baby or infant. It is not known if Alphagan or Combigan are excreted in human milk and therefore caution should be exercised since it has been found to be excreted in animal milk. As a general rule, drug research cannot be carried out in women who are, or might be, pregnant or breast feeding and as a result the drug manufacturers for legal reasons cannot recommend the use of drugs in this group of people. Over the years there have been a number of combination drops produced and caution should also be exercised with these.

As a general rule, drug research cannot be carried out in women who are, or might be, pregnant or breast feeding and as a result, the drug manufacturers for legal reasons cannot recommend the use of drugs in such people.