Information about Adrenergic Agonists Dosages, Precautions & Side Effects

Adrenergic agonists that are used in glaucoma treatment include the following:

  • AK Pro, Propine (dipivefrin); 1 eyedrop 2x/day
  • Alphagan-P (brimonidine); 1-2 eyedrops 3x/day

  • epinephrine; 1 eyedrop 1-2x/day
  • Iopidine (apraclonidine); 1 eyedrop 2x/day

When using adrenergic agonists, patients should wait 2 minutes before using any other eyedrops. These glaucoma medications lower IOP (intraocular pressure) by decreasing the amount of aqueous humor produced and increasing drainage. Tell your doctor about any medical conditions that you have. Do not use brimonidine eyedrops if you are taking a MAO inhibitor, tricyclic antidepressant, or other medications for mood or anxiety disorders, or are being treated for insomnia, high blood pressure, or seizures.

Call your doctor if you become faint or dizzy, see specks or flashes of light or blind spots, or develop:

  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing
  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • nausea
  • rash

Common side effects associated with adrenergic agonists include the following:

  • itchy, irritated eyes
  • eye swelling or pain, blurred vision
  • increased sensitivity to light and glare
  • headache
  • drowsiness
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • dry mouth
  • cold- or flu-like symptoms

Publication Review By: Susan B. Bressler, M.D., Harry A. Quigley, M.D., Oliver D. Schein, M.D., M.P.H.

Published: 04 Mar 2011

Last Modified: 07 Jan 2015