latanoprost (Xalatan)

What is latanoprost, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Latanoprost, a derivative of the chemical, prostaglandin F2-alpha, is used for the treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure exerted by the liquid within the eyeball (the aqueous humor) is too great. The high pressure damages the optic nerve at the back of the eye. The damage interferes with the ability of the nerve to transmit visual images from the eye to the brain and thus can lead to blindness. Prostaglandins control the flow of the aqueous humor out of the eye. Latanoprost, by binding to a specific receptor for prostaglandin, increases the flow of aqueous humor out of the eye, thereby reducing the pressure within the eye and reducing the risk of nerve damage and blindness. When latanoprost and timolol (Timoptic) (a different drug that also is used to treat glaucoma) are used in combination, there is a greater reduction in pressure than when either drug is used alone. Latanoprost was approved by the FDA in 1996.

What brand names are available for latanoprost?


Is latanoprost available as a generic drug?


PREPARATIONS: Ophthalmic solution: 50 µg/ml, 2.5ml.

Do I need a prescription for latanoprost?


What are the side effects of latanoprost?

Between 5% and 15% (between 1 in 20 and 1 in 6) of persons receiving latanoprost for 6 months report at least one side effect localized to the eyes. These side effects included:

Discoloration of the iris begins slowly. It is caused by an increase in the amount of brown pigment in the iris and may be permanent. Other side effects which have been reported less frequently include:

  • dryness of the eyes,
  • increased tearing,
  • eye pain,
  • and other eye-related discomfort.

elash changes such as increased length, thickness, and number of lashes may occur. Conjunctivitis, double vision, and eye discharge are rare side effects of latanoprost.


What causes dry eyes? See Answer

What is the dosage for latanoprost?

The usual dose is one drop into the affected eye or eyes once daily in the evening. The hands should be washed before each use of latanoprost or any eye medication. Contact lenses should be removed. The head is tilted back and the lower eyelid is pulled down with the index finger to form a pouch. (It is important not to touch the tip of the dropper to the eye or the eyelid so that bacteria are not introduced into the bottle.) The bottle is squeezed slightly to allow the prescribed number of drops into the pouch. The eye is closed gently for 2 to 3 minutes without blinking.

Which drugs or supplements interact with latanoprost?

Mixing eye drops containing thimerosal with latanoprost may cause precipitation of the chemicals within the drops. Therefore, thimerosal eye drops and latanoprost should be administered at least 5 minutes apart. Combining latanoprost with other prostaglandin eye drops may reduce the effect of latanoprost and may even increase intraocular pressure.

Is latanoprost safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in pregnant women. Physicians should use latanoprost during pregnancy only if its benefits are felt to outweigh the potential risks to the fetus.

It is not known if latanoprost is secreted into breast milk.

What else should I know about latanoprost?

How should I keep latanoprost stored?

Latanoprost should be kept at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F) and protected for direct light.


Latanoprost (Xalatan) is a medication prescribed for reducing intraocular pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Side effects, drug interactions, and dosing information should be reviewed prior to receiving this medication.

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See more info: latanoprost on RxList
Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


FDA Prescribing Information