Brimonidine in the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension

Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2006 Dec;2(4):337-46. doi: 10.2147/tcrm.2006.2.4.337.


Treatment in glaucoma aims to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) to reduce the risk of progression and vision loss. The alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonist brimonidine effectively lowers IOP and is useful as monotherapy, adjunctive therapy, and replacement therapy in open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. A fixed combination of brimonidine and timolol, available in some countries, reduces IOP as effectively as concomitant therapy with brimonidine and timolol and offers the convenience of 2 drugs in a single eyedrop. Brimonidine is safe and well tolerated. Its most common side-effects are conjunctival hyperemia, allergic conjunctivitis, and ocular pruritus. The newest formulation of brimonidine, brimonidine-Purite 0.1%, has a higher pH to improve the ocular bioavailability of brimonidine. This formulation contains the lowest effective concentration of brimonidine and is preserved with Purite(R) to enhance ocular tolerability. Brimonidine-Purite 0.1% is as effective in reducing IOP as the original brimonidine 0.2% solution preserved with benzalkonium chloride. Recent results from preclinical and clinical studies suggest that brimonidine may protect retinal ganglion cells and their projections from damage and death independently of its effects on IOP. The potential for neuroprotection with brimonidine is an added benefit of its use in glaucoma and ocular hypertension.