Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Pilocarpine

Pilocarpine

Last updated on 07/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions   |   Tips   |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Pilocarpine

CHINESE NAME: 毛果芸香鹼

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Isopto Carpine 愛舒特開明

DRUG CLASS: Anti-glaucoma agents

SUB CLASS: Cholinergics

USED FOR: Glaucoma, Ocular hypertension, Miosis induction, Prevention of postoperative elevated intraocular pressure

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS:
– 1%, 2%, 4% (eye drops)

What is Pilocarpine for?

Pilocarpine belongs to a class of medications called cholinergic agonists. It works by increasing aqueous humor excretion and contracting some parts of eye muscle to lower intraocular pressure. It is indicated for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure, prevention of elevated intraocular pressure after laser surgery, and induction of miosis (constriction of pupil).

How to use it?

Pilocarpine is applied to the eyes. Lie down or tilt your head back. With your index finger, pull down the lower lid of your eye. Hold the dropper close to your eye with the other hand, and drop 1 drop into your eyes between your lower lid and eyeball. Gently close your eyes. Gently close your eyes, and apply finger pressure to the inner corner of your eye for 2 minutes.

For open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension:
Instill 1 drop of 1%, 2%, or 4% solution into the affected eye(s) up to 4 times daily.  Patients new to Pilocarpine should initiate on the 1% concentration. 

Note: Strength of solution and frequency of instillation are determined on severity of pressure elevation and patient miotic response.

For acute angle-closure glaucoma:
Instill 1 drop of 2% solution into affected eye(s) two times every 15 minutes as part of a 4-drug regimen. Separate administration of other ophthalmic agents by ≥1 minute. 

Note: If laser treatment is needed, instill 1 drop of 4% solution before the procedure, and 1 drop of 1% solution four times daily after the procedure. 

For induction of miosis:
Instill 1 drop (or 2 drops five minutes apart) of 1%, 2%, or 4% solution into the affected eye(s).

For prevention of postoperative elevated IOP associated with laser surgery:
Instill 1 drop (or 2 drops five minutes apart) of 1%, 2%, or 4% solution into the affected eye(s) 15-60 minutes prior to surgery.

What are the side effects of Pilocarpine?

The common side effects of Pilocarpine include burning and stinging, headache,  eye irritation, blurred vision, or visual impairment.

Who should not take Pilocarpine?

– People who are allergic to Pilocarpine or any component of the formulation
– Patients with conditions where pupillary constriction is undesirable, such as acute iritis, anterior uveitis

Pharmacist Tips:

– Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using.
– Shake the eye drops well just before each use.
– Remove contact lenses prior to administration, and wait 10 minutes before reinserting.
– It is important to perform punctal occlusion (apply pressure to the inner corner of the eye for 2 minutes) after administration to minimize systemic side effects.
– Separate administration of other ophthalmic agents by at least 5 minutes.
– Avoid driving or other activities requiring clear vision until drug effects are realized.

Common dosing schedule:
N/A

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Pilocarpine may interact with:
– Beta-blockers, e.g. Metoprolol, Propranolol

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Pilocarpine in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Pilocarpine is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Pilocarpine in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.