logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine




Timoptic eye drops are very effective at lowering pressure within the eyeand have helped provide an important advance in the treatment of some types of glaucoma.

The active ingredient, timolol, is known as a beta blocker.

Timoptic is normally prescribed alone or with other glaucoma medications to reduce the pressure within the eye.

Side Effects and Interactions

Timoptic can cause eye irritation and some visual disturbances.

It may also provoke headache, dizziness, slow heart rate, heart rhythm disturbances, chest pain, drowsiness, muscle weakness, sexual difficulties, nausea, diarrhea, muscle weakness, rash, hair loss and trouble breathing.

Although Timoptic is less likely to affect the nervous system than oral beta blockers, be alert for the beta blocker blahs. Symptoms of psychological depression, fatigue, confusion, and memory loss may come on slowly and insidiously. Notify your physician promptly of any adverse reactions, especially breathing difficulties, fluid retention in the legs or a night cough.

Timoptic may interact with surgical anesthetics and increase the risk of heart problems in surgery. Check with the doctor ahead of time to see if you should phase off these eye drops gradually before you enter the operating room.

This drug may also interact with a number of other compounds, including several that are used to treat blood pressure or heart problems.


inhibitors for depression (Nardil, Parnate) should not be taken with oral timolol and may pose problems with Timoptic. Dilantin and digoxin may also cause trouble.

Oral contraceptives, estrogen replacement therapy and medicines for arthritis, asthma, migraine headaches, diabetes, and thyroid problems have potential interactions with these eye drops.

Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure Timoptic is safe in combination with any other drugs you may take.

Special Precautions

Some people should avoid beta blockers like Timoptic or take them only with great caution.

Asthmatics and patients with other respiratory problems are especially vulnerable, as these drugs can make breathing worse.

People with heart failure should also alert the ophthalmologist, as beta blockers may lead to cardiac complications.

These eye drops can also affect blood lipid levels in a negative manner. A consultation between the eye doctor and the one treating lung or heart problems may be in order.

Taking the Medicine

Timoptic is less likely than oral timolol (Blocadren) to affect the entire body. Nevertheless, some people absorb this medicine through the eye and into the body as a whole.


can be reduced somewhat with proper application. It helps to pull the lower eyelid away from the eye to make a pouch, look upward, and put the drop in the pouch without touching the dropper to the eye.

As soon as the drops are in, the eyelid should be closed gently for 1 to 2 minutes and pressure applied with a finger to the inside corner of the eye.

Do not stop using Timoptic on your own. Your physician will give you special instructions if you need to discontinue these eye drops or change to another one.

Rate this article
2.8- 12 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.