Purpose: To compare the long-term efficacy and safety of brimonidine 0.2% twice daily with timolol 0.5% twice daily in patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension.
Methods: Of the 926 patients enrolled in the study, 837 met the protocol entry criteria and received either brimonidine 0.2% twice daily (n = 466) or timolol 0.5% (n = 371) twice daily in each eye for 1 year.
Results: Brimonidine and timolol significantly reduced mean intraocular pressure (P < .001) from baseline levels at every scheduled follow-up visit, both at hour 2 (peak) and hour 12 (trough). At weeks 1 and 2 and months 3 and 12, significantly greater mean decreases in intraocular pressure (P < .040) at peak were observed in patients treated with brimonidine than those treated with timolol. The mean intraocular pressure decrease at trough was significantly greater for timolol than for brimonidine at each follow-up visit (P < .001). With the exception of ocular allergy (in 11.5% of patients using brimonidine and less than 1% using timolol), fewer than 3% of patients in either treatment group withdrew from the study prematurely as a result of a specific adverse event. Patients receiving timolol experienced significant decreases in heart rate (P < .001) from baseline at all follow-up visits. No significant changes in heart rate were seen in patients treated with brimonidine. Neither medication produced clinically significant changes in blood pressure.
Conclusion: Brimonidine is safe and effective in the long-term lowering of intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension, with efficacy comparable to that of timolol but without a notable negative chronotropic effect on the heart.