timolol ophthalmic solution (Timoptic)

What is timolol ophthalmic solution, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Timolol is a beta-adrenergic blocking agent. Like other beta-adrenergic blocking agents, it mainly blocks the action of the sympathetic (adrenergic) nervous system, for example, on the heart. In addition to its effect on the heart, timolol causes a reduction of the pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure). This effect is may result from a reduction in production of the liquid (aqueous humor) within the eye. The precise mechanism of this effect is not known. The reduction in intraocular pressure reduces the risk of damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision in patients with glaucoma. Timolol was approved by the FDA for ocular use in 1978.

What brand names are available for timolol ophthalmic solution?

Timoptic, Timoptic-XE, Timoptic in Ocudose

Is timolol ophthalmic solution available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for timolol ophthalmic solution?


What are the side effects of timolol ophthalmic solution?

Common side effects include:

Ophthalmic timolol can cause irritation to the eye which may manifest as pain or dryness in some people.

Rarely, timolol eye drops can result in side effects that are seen with other oral beta adrenergic blockers. For example, persons can experience:


What causes dry eyes? See Answer

Which drugs or supplements interact with timolol ophthalmic solution?

Combined use of oral beta-adrenergic blocking agents, for example, propranolol (Inderal), atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor) or carvedilol (Coreg) with ophthalmic timolol can result in additive effects. Thus, patients may experience excessively low blood pressure or reductions in heart rate.

Combining calcium channel blockers or CCBs (for example, diltiazem) with timolol may increase the risk of abnormal heart beats.

What is the dosage for timolol ophthalmic solution?

  • Both hands should be washed before each use of timolol or any other eye medication.
  • The head should be tilted back and the lower lid pulled down with the index finger to form a pouch.
  • The tip of the dropper should not be touched to the eye or eyelid.
  • The bottle should be squeezed slightly to allow the prescribed number of drops into the pouch.
  • The eye is closed gently for 1 to 2 minutes without blinking.
  • The usual dose is one drop into the affected eye twice daily.
  • Timoptic-XE gel forming solution dose is one drop once per day.

Is timolol ophthalmic solution safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

Although there are no human studies that have examined the effects of oral timolol on the fetus, animal studies have shown adverse effects. Therefore, the physician must weigh the potential risks to the fetus against the potential benefits to the mother. It is unknown if the small amount of timolol that penetrates into the blood after administration into the eye affects the fetus.

Concentrations of timolol in breast milk can be three times those in the mother's blood after oral administration. It is not known how much, if any timolol appears in breast milk after administration into the eye. Ideally, patients taking timolol should avoid breastfeeding.

What else should I know about timolol ophthalmic solution?

What preparations of timolol ophthalmic solution are available?

Ophthalmic solution: 0.25%, 0.5%. There is also a gel-forming solution (Timoptic-XE) in a 0.25% and 0.5% concentration.

How should I keep timolol ophthalmic solution stored?

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


Timolol ophthalmic solution (Timoptic, Timoptic-XE, Timoptic in Ocudose) is a prescription eye solution prescribed to treat glaucoma, high blood pressure, and angina. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing, and storage information, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

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Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


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