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Alpha Agonist

Medication Company Brand Name Generic Name
Iopidine Alcon, Inc. Iopidine® Apraclonidine HCI 0.5%, 1%
Alphagan Allergan Inc. Alphagan® P Brimonidine tartrate 0.1%, 0.15%


Alpha agonists work to both decrease production of fluid and increase drainage. Alphagan P has a purite preservative that breaks down into natural tear components and may be more effective for people who have allergic reactions to preservatives in other eye drops. Alphagan is available in a generic form.

Side Effects:

The most common side effects can include burning or stinging upon instillation of the eye drop, fatigue, headache, drowsiness, dry mouth and dry nose.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Other Side Effects:

There is a potential for vascular insufficiency. This medication should be used with caution in patients with depression, cerebral or coronary insufficiency, Raynaud's phenomenon, orthostatic hypo-tension, or thromboangilitis obliterans. Although this medication had minimal effect on the blood pressure of patients in clinical studies, caution should be exercised in treating patients with severe cardiovascular disease.

Adverse reactions occurring in approximately 10-20% of patients included: allergic conjunctivitis, conjunctival hyperemia (red eyes), and eye pruritus (itching). Approximately 5-9% of patients reported a burning sensation, conjunctival folliculosis, hypertension, ocular allergic reaction, or visual disturbance.

Adverse reaction in approximately 1-4% of patients included (but are not limited to): abnormal taste, allergic reaction, blepharitis, blurred vision, bronchitis, cataract, conjunctival edema, conjunctival hemorrhage, cough, dizziness, trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, tearing, eye discharge, eye dryness, eye irritation, eye pain, eyelid swelling, eyelid redness, fatigue, foreign body sensation, upper respiratory infection, insomnia, keratitis, lid disorder, light sensitivity, rash, vitreous disorder, and vision changes.

When to seek Advise:

You should be advised that if you develop swelling, irritation, changes in vision, difficulty swallowing or shortness of breath, call your doctor immediately. Please make sure that you report any changes or side effects to your doctor.