Prostaglandins are approved by the European Glaucoma Society guidelines as first-line treatment for glaucoma. This review focuses on latanoprost, an ester prodrug of prostaglandin (PG) F2α, which was the first of the currently available topical PGF2α analogs to be launched for glaucoma or ocular hypertension and which still accounts for the majority of prescriptions. It is better absorbed than the parent compound through the cornea, and peak concentration of the active drug is in the aqueous humor 1-2 hours after topical dosing (15-30 ng/mL). Metabolism occurs mainly in the liver. Latanoprost (0.005%) has been very well studied in clinical trials and meta-analyses that show it to be generally as effective as the other PG analogs (bimatoprost, travoprost, and tafluprost) and more effective than timolol, dorzolamide, and brimonidine. Latanoprost has good short- and long-term safety and tolerability profiles. In common with other prostaglandins, it lacks systemic effects, but can cause ocular adverse events such as conjunctival hyperemia, pigmentation of the iris, periocular skin or eyelashes, hypertrichosis, and ocular surface effects or irritation. Latanoprost is significantly better tolerated than either bimatoprost or travoprost. Patients treated with latanoprost have better compliance and persist with therapy longer than those that are given other drugs. An improved formulation of latanoprost without the preservative benzalkonium chloride has recently been developed. It is as effective as conventional latanoprost, has a lower incidence of hyperemia, and can be stored at room temperature. In conclusion, latanoprost has the best efficacy-tolerability ratio of the PG analogs available for glaucoma treatment, and has good compliance and persistence. These factors should be improved further by the recent development of preservative-free latanoprost.
Keywords: glaucoma; hyperemia; intraocular pressure; latanoprost; ocular hypertension; prostaglandin.