11 Most Popular Drugs for Glaucoma
high drug prices
Most people are born with five senses: touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. If we have them, we're used to them. They're so ingrained in our life experience that we barely even notice them. With age, our senses may change or become diminished — particularly sight and sound because of the delicate, intricate inner workings of the eyes and ears, but also because we do damage to them throughout our lives.
With the eyes in particular, there are multiple diseases that impact how sharp our sight is, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. While cataracts can be corrected, glaucoma and macular degeneration are much more complicated and can cause irreversible blindness.
According to the BrightFocus Foundation, more than 3 million Americans are currently living with glaucoma. Glaucoma is of particular concern for people over the age of 60 because it's the leading cause of blindness in that age group.
There are many ways to treat glaucoma and slow down its progression so people are less likely to lose their sight entirely. Here is a brief explanation of glaucoma, its major concerns, and the popular prescription drugs typically used to treat it.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a broad term used to describe a variety of eye conditions that impact the optic nerve. There are a few different types of glaucoma including open-angle glaucoma (which is the most common), angle-closure glaucoma (also called closed-angle), normal tension glaucoma, and pigmentary glaucoma.
Because the early stages of glaucoma can be difficult to detect, it's relatively easy to miss them until the damage is already so extensive that nothing can be done to save the person's eyesight. Additionally, the changes in your eyesight can be very gradual, which you can get used to without even really realizing it — your brain just compensates for it.
This is one of the reasons annual eye exams are highly recommended. The optometrist or ophthalmologist will conduct a glaucoma screening to check for pressure in your eye (the dreaded puff of air) and examine your field of vision (the test where you look at a picture and click the button when you see a light anywhere in your peripheral vision).
One of the major concerns with glaucoma is elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) because it can cause damage to the optic nerve, which can lead to irreversible blindness. However, glaucoma is still a bit of a mystery for doctors because they aren't certain why optic nerve damage is so often linked to eye pressure, when sometimes it simply... isn't. For example, with normal tension glaucoma, damage occurs to the optic nerve even though pressure within the eye is completely normal.
Because open-angle glaucoma is the most common type, and too much pressure in the eye isn't "good," many of the prescription medications approved to treat glaucoma aim to decrease internal eye pressure. Anything doctors can do to keep eye pressure low is very important in order to protect the optic nerve and preserve vision for as long as possible.
Popular Prescription Medications to Treat Glaucoma
Prostaglandin Analogs are eye drops typically recommended as the first treatment for glaucoma, meaning that this is where doctors start when a glaucoma diagnosis is determined. While this is not always the case, it frequently is.
Prostaglandins are naturally occurring in various areas of the body. In the eye, they're responsible for draining fluids. Prostaglandin analogs are designed to supplement this same action in an effort to keep pressure to a minimum.
There are a handful of prostaglandin analogs approved for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension: Xalatan (latanoprost), Lumigan (bimatoprost), Travatan Z (Travoprost), and Zioptan (tafluprost), and Vyzulta (latanoprostene bunod).
Lumigan Eye Drops (bimatoprost)
Lumigan (bimatoprost) is one of the most popular brands in the prostaglandin analog class. It was approved in 2001, so there is a generic readily available.
In the U.S., a 2.5ml bottle of the lowest dose (0.01%) of name brand Lumigan costs about $266.00. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell the same bottle of the same medication for about $46.00.
Generic bimatoprost is only available in a 0.03% dose. It's less expensive, but still a hefty sum in the United States — it runs between $100 and $150. But as you might expect, we have it at a more affordable price at NorthWestPharmacy.com. A 3ml bottle costs about $30.00.
Xalatan (latanoprost) is another popular brand of prostaglandin analog. Approved in 2002, it also has a generic version that is quite affordable and easy to find. It only comes in one dosage amount (0.005%), but it comes in multiple size bottles.
In the United States, the smallest possible bottle (2.5 ml) of brand name Xalatan costs about $305.00. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell the same bottle for about $47.00.
The price of generic latanoprost is more comparable between the U.S. and international online pharmacies. A 2.5 ml bottle of generic latanoprost is about $40.00 — sometimes less.
Travatan Z (travoprost)
Like Xalatan, Travatan Z (travoprost) only comes in one dosage amount (0.004%), but comes in a few different size bottles. Originally approved in 2006, two generic versions were approved in 2019, bringing the price down for people who needed travoprost.
In the United States, the smallest bottle (2.5ml) of brand name Travatan Z costs about $270.00. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell the same bottle of Travatan Z for about $100.00 less (about $170.00).
Additionally, we have access to a generic version that is only about $50.00 for a 2.5ml bottle.
While often used to treat heart failure and irregular heart beats, beta blockers in eye drop form are regularly used to treat glaucoma, particularly if prostaglandin analogs aren't sufficient.
Betimol (timolol) is used to help reduce the amount of fluid produced in the eye (aqueous humor). The theory here is that the eye will be able to more effectively drain excess fluid in order to keep eye pressure to a minimum.
Betimol costs about $150.00 for a 5ml bottle in the United States. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell it for a bit less — $130.00 per bottle.
Alphagan P (brimonidine tartrate)
Alphagan P (brimonidine tartrate) is designed to both decrease fluid production and also increase fluid drainage. The "P" in the title of this medication represents a "purite preservative" that mimics the properties of real tear components, and is sometimes helpful for people who struggle with preservatives used in eye drops.
In the United States, generic brimonidine tartrate starts off at about $220.00 for a 5ml bottle. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell name brand Alphagan P for about $37.00 and the generic version for about $26.00.
Iopidine (apraclonidine) is another medication that helps to decrease the amount of fluid in the eye. Apraclonidine actually causes the blood vessels to constrict in order to keep fluid down.
A 5ml bottle of Iopidine can cost as much as $200.00 in the United States, but at NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell it for about $35.00.
Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors (CAIs)
Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs) are all designed to reduce the production of intraocular fluid.
Trusopt (dorzolamide HCl)
A 10ml bottle of Trusopt (dorzolamide HCl) costs about $120.00 in the United States, but a generic is a more affordable $40.00. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we have the same brand name bottle for about $57.00, and the generic for a similar price ($43.00).
Trusopt is also available in a preservative free form at $93.00 for a 12ml bottle.
Azopt (brinzolamide) is one of the newer medications on this list and is not yet available in a generic formulation. In the United States, a 10ml bottle of Azopt costs about $390.00. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can get 10ml of Azopt for about $60.00.
Sometimes timolol (beta blocker) is combined with another active ingredient that works in conjunction with it to reduce pressure or increase fluid expulsion. In the case of Combigan (brimonidine/timolol), the brimonidine (alpha agonist) helps reduce the amount of fluid made, as well as flushing the fluid out of the eye. Together, these two ingredients work well together to keep eye pressure to a minimum.
Combigan is not recommended for people who have COPD or asthma, as well as some heart conditions.
In the United States, a 5ml bottle of Combigan costs about $246.00. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell the same bottle for about $40.00. Furthermore, we have access to a generic version that only costs about $27.00.
Cosopt (dorzolamide HCl/timolol maleate)
Cosopt is another combination medication that contains the beta blocker timolol and the CAI dorzolamide HCI.
In the United States, a 10ml bottle of name brand Cosopt costs about $270.00, but the generic is much more affordable (about $40.00). At NorthWestPharmacy.com, the same name brand Cosopt costs about $77.00 and a slightly less expensive generic version.
Cosopt is also available in a preservative free formulation, running about $238.00 for 24ml.
Simbrinza (brinzolamide and brimonidine tartrate)
Simbrinza is one of the few combination medications that doesn't contain timolol. Instead, it combines the CAI brinzolamide and alpha agonist brimonidine tartrate.
In the United States, an 8ml bottle of Simbrinza costs about $223.00, with no available generic at this time. However, at NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell a 10ml bottle of Simbrinza for about $155.00 (or a 5ml bottle for $84.00), and a generic version for $75.00 and $50.00, respectively.
Maximizing the Effects of Your Glaucoma Medication
It's important to note that there is no cure for glaucoma, but the medications listed here are often effective in reducing the conditions within the eye that increase the chances of irreversible optic nerve damage. The majority of prescriptions created to treat glaucoma are eye drops, although a couple of them can be formulated to take as pills.
One trick to making the most of your prescription eye drops (and reduce potential side effects throughout the body) is to use a technique called punctal occlusion, which involves blocking the tear duct. By utilizing this technique, you can keep the medication in the eye, as opposed to working its way through your bloodstream, opening up opportunities for potential side effects in other parts of the body, and maximizing the ability of the active ingredient to work in the eyeball itself.
Finding Glaucoma Medications at a More Affordable Price via International and Canadian Online Pharmacies
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we are committed to helping you obtain the glaucoma medication you need at the lowest price possible. In fact, we have a lowest price guarantee — if you find it cheaper elsewhere, all you have to do is tell us and we'll match it.
We also understand that (like price) convenience is also a major factor in medication adherence. Therefore, we'll deliver the exact medication your doctor prescribed straight to your door. We figure the walk to your mailbox to pick up your prescription is much more convenient than a drive to a pharmacy.
It's a rarity these days that companies have dedicated call centers in North America with highly trained customer service personnel. Most are outsourced to companies who run call centers for from nations where service standards may vary from what consumers may expect. However, we didn't ever want our customers to feel like they weren't getting the information they needed about their medications, and outsourcing a call center to some far flung part of the globe leaves a lot of room for error in this regard. We guarantee that when you call NorthWestPharmacy.com, you'll get a real person in North America. Our call center is open seven days a week, and we take great pride in this aspect of our business.
If you're interested in placing an order, but have questions regarding what you'll need in order to get your medication (such as a valid prescription from a doctor), and possible methods of payment, we'd be happy to walk you through the process. You can also check out our frequently asked questions, which may provide the answers you're looking for.
Regardless of the reason behind your phone call, please don't hesitate to reach out. For your convenience, we have a toll-free phone number: 1-866-539-5330. We're looking forward to hearing from you.