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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.

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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.” .
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I think Big Pharma needs to start developing medications with fewer side effects. It’s a tradeoff with absolutely every drug on the market. Many individuals are suffering as a result of the side effects and they’re not aware that’s the problem – not the illness.

i know this is quite an old thread but my experience has been that I can only tolerate timolol in one eye at a time. if I instill in both eyes on same day, even a few hours apart then I am lightheaded and so sluggish as to be near useless. I have tried occasionally to put in both eyes on same day after drinking 16 ounces of water in the morning and some caffeine afterward. Same symptoms. I was told to alternate left eye one day then right eye the next day. I wprry about this wondering if untreated eye has rebound pressure on off day and maybe doing more harm. My systolic baseline blood pressure before timolol is 88 to a 100. What to do. Also use long-acting Zioptan every other night tp avoid hyperemia and thinning of cornea and sclera per ophthalmologist. Don’t tolerate any other drops due to preservatives. Near fainting with Allphagan or Combigan and sleep for hours, yikes.

I recently increased my timolol to a drop morning and night due to an increase in pressure. My hair is thinning and my scalp itchy with this increase. Are there other drops equally effective?

Yes nausea, breathlessness and dull head ache.Stopped drops for one night and feel better!

In an earlier post I was concerned that Timerol was causing my breathing problems. Doctors had attributed my breathing problems to atrial fibrillation and were preparing to implant a pacemaker saying my situation was “urgent.” After I developed a rash on my neck I went to the Internet (People’s Pharmacy) looking for a remedy.

I came across their article explaining that Timerol “May interact with surgical anesthetics and increase heart problems during surgery” Furthermore it said that Timerol should be phased out gradually before entering the operating room. It also interacts with high blood pressure meds and heart problems.

Two doctors and a consultation with my local pharmacist overlooked this. The Pharmacist assured me that Timerol is localized and could not possibly be causing this problem. They were so wrong. I postponed the surgery. Doctors hate it when you go to the Internet for information but they were wrong and People’s Pharmacy got it right!

I am taking Pradaxa, Cartia, and Lisinopril for hypertension and atrial fibrillation. In addition I was using latanoprost eye drops for glaucoma. I had a bad reaction when these drugs were all taken together so my ophthalmologist changed my eye drops from latanopost to timolol. Latanoprost was far worse than timolol with more side effects but the timolol was more frightening because I had trouble breathing. The pharmacist assured me that all of these drugs could be taken together safely. I just got around to reading the literature that came with the prescription and I learned that timolol causes things that pradaxa and cartia are trying to prevent or correct. The pharmacist had assured me they were safe taken together. They are not. Do they really care?

Used Timoptic for over 15 years with no problem. Pressure never dropped below 19/20 and when it became 23/24 I had the laser surgery. The pressure would go down for several years then back up again. Just had the laser for the 3rd time. The company that the drops came from was FALCON. Never had a problem with side effects. My druggist and several others I have contacted, no longer carry FALCON.
The drops made by two other companies make my eyes, and skin around the eyes, itch like crazy. I have been on Lumigan for 6 weeks, and now the skin under my eyes is starting to itch again. Don’t know what the problem is, but will ask my doctor if they make an eye drop for glaucoma for sensitive eyes/skin.

the hair growth side effect is not due to timolol but to bimatoprost (prostaglandin-f2-alpha analog) the active ingredient in lumigan. It has been proven to be a hair growth activator.

Optholmologist prescribes timolol, internal medicine doctor prescribes me
Metropolol Succer. Both are Beta Blockers and I am suffering intense fatigue
and depression. What can I do besides talk to the physicians which I have already done
Without any success or changes. I’m not supposed to stop the medications myself.
Any suggestions?

I been using timolol for 8 mos now. After a month of using, I got these floaters and weiss ring. My ophthalmologist diagnosed me with an open angle glaucoma. Any idea why I got these floaters and weiss ring? My ophthalmologist told me that its normal, but I thought it’s not. please help. thank you.

I started Timolol about 5 months ago, with little to no effect on my eye pressure. What it DID do, however, was dramatically increase my triglycerides and my bad cholesterol while lowering the good cholesterol. Make sure to have your blood lipids tested on timolol- very common side effect that goes unnoticed, says my cardiologist.

After dropping in Timolol for just one month, the pressure in my left eye went from 28 to 15, with no side effects.

I have been taking Timolol Eye Drops for elevated eye pressure for 10 years.
During the last year I have experienced a general hair loss all over my body and most noticeably to me on my head. I also have shown signs of low thyroid and have now been put on Thyroxin at a low dose which has not helped much. I believe that Timolol has caused this and would like to know if others have suffered similar problems.

I am requesting information on the sleep study that was done on Timolol drops. I have been taking these drops for 5 or 6 years and they have been working well but I was informed that the sleep study found that it is not effective after 10 p.m.? Please give me further information on this?? Thank you, LSY )my pressure is 12 ct.)

I started Timolol drops in the gel form this past week after trying and having reactions to three other eye drops to control pressure. I was off all drops for over a year since I am only a “glaucoma suspect”. After using Timolol for three days I became very queasy about five hours after instilling one drop in each eye, as prescribed.
I stopped the drops for another three days and the feeling slowly went away. Since I am not certain what caused the queasiness, today, with trepidation, I am trying them again while staying in close contact with my ophthalmologist, since I am already on an oral beta blocker for BP. Anyone out there experience queasiness or nausea as a side effect of Timolol?

I used Timolol with great results for over 20 years to control Glaucoma. About a year ago my ophthalmologist changed me to Lumigan and that works fine too. But I’ve had a side effect happening for the last few months that I’m enjoying. First, I’ve grown back some eyelashes and also now have hair on my legs and armpits and other private areas again. Also my scalp hair is thickening up. I didn’t realize the hair thinning and loss were a side effect of Timolol and just thought it was a natural part of aging. What a nice surprise. Dr. says he thinks, except for the eyelashes, it’s the effect of stopping the Timolol, not starting Lumigan.

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