How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Brinzolamide belongs to the group of medications called carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. It is available in eye drop form and is used to reduce the pressure inside the eye for people with open-angle glaucoma or intraocular hypertension (increased pressure in the eye).

Fluid is constantly being formed and drained out of the eye. When this fluid does not drain out of the eye properly or too much fluid is produced, pressure inside the eye increases. Brinzolamide works by reducing the amount of fluid produced by the eye.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each mL of sterile, aqueous suspension, formulated to be readily suspended and slow settling following shaking, contains brinzolamide 10 mg. The pH has been adjusted to pH 7.5 (pH range 6.5 to 8.5) to match the physiologic pH of tears and the product has also been formulated to be iso-osmotic to optimize ocular comfort upon instillation. Nonmedicinal ingredients: carbomer 974P, edetate disodium, hydrochloric acid and/or sodium hydroxide (to adjust pH), mannitol, purified water, sodium chloride, and tyloxapol. Benzalkonium chloride 0.01% is added as a preservative.

How should I use this medication?

The usual starting dose of this medication is 1 drop in the affected eye(s) 2 times a day. If you are not responding well to this dose after a period of time, your doctor may suggest that you use 1 drop 3 times a day.

Before using this medication, shake the bottle well.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

To use the eye drops:

  1. Wash your hands before using the eye drops.
  2. Remove the cap and place it in a clean location. To avoid possible contamination, keep the tip of the container away from contact with any surface.
  3. Tilt the head back and look towards the ceiling.
  4. With your index finger, gently pull the lower eyelid down and away from the eye to form a pouch.
  5. Apply one drop into the pouch by following the instructions on the eye drop container. Do not allow the tip of the container to touch the eye or areas around the eye.
  6. Gently apply pressure to the inner corner of the eye (at the bridge of the nose) for about 30 seconds (this is called nasolacrimal occlusion). This prevents the medication from dripping down through the tear duct and entering the bloodstream, which could cause you to experience some side effects.
  7. Repeat with the other eye, if prescribed by your physician.
  8. Wash your hands again to remove any medication.

Do not allow the dropper tip of the bottle to touch the eye or other surrounding structures. This can contaminate the tip with common bacteria known to cause eye infections. Serious damage to the eye may result if you use eye drop solutions that have become contaminated.

Brinzolamide eye drops should be used at least 10 minutes before or after other eye drops that are being used.

It is important that this medication be used exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, use it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Brinzolamide should not be used by anyone who:

  • is allergic to brinzolamide or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • is taking carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (e.g., acetazolamide, methazolamide) by mouth
  • has severely impaired kidney function

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is used in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people using this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • blurred vision
  • eye discomfort, dryness, redness
  • feeling of something in the eye
  • headache
  • taste changes

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • eye pain
  • itching or swelling of the eye

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • peeling or blistering skin
  • severe skin rash
  • symptoms of a severe allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face or throat

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Allergy: Brinzolamide belongs to the family of medications known as sulfonamides or "sulfas." The same type of allergic reaction can occur with this medication as with other sulfonamides. Contact your doctor if you experience a skin rash while using this medication. Stop using this medication and get medical attention if you experience hives; shortness of breath; peeling or blistering skin; or swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, or throat.

Blurred vision: This medication may temporarily cause blurred vision. If you experience blurred vision, do not drive or operate machinery until your vision returns to normal.

Contact lenses: This medication contains the preservative benzalkonium chloride which may be absorbed by soft contact lenses. Contact lenses should be removed when applying these eye drops but can be reinserted 15 minutes after application.

Eye surgery, infections, trauma: Anyone using this medication who has had eye surgery, trauma to the eye, or who has symptoms of an eye infection (e.g., eye redness, itchiness, discharge, crusts on the eyelids, or the feeling of something in the eye) should contact their doctor concerning further use of the eye drop.

General: As with other topically applied eye drops, this medication may be absorbed into the bloodstream. The same side effects reported with oral medications from the families known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (e.g., acetazolamide, methazolamide) or sulfonamides (e.g., sulfamethoxazole) may occur with the eye drops. These side effects may include, but are not limited to, rash and nausea. Refer to the section, "What side effects are possible with this medication?" for more information.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if brinzolamide passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between brinzolamide and any of the following:

  • acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
  • acetazolamide
  • methazolamide
  • other eye drops
  • salsalate

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.