PURPOSE: To determine the efficacy and safety of latanoprost treatment for 1 year in glaucoma patients, and to evaluate the effects of switching from timolol to latanoprost therapy. METHODS: Latanoprost 0.005% was topically applied once daily without masking for 6 months in 223 patients with elevated intraocular pressure after previous treatment with latanoprost once daily or 0.5% timolol twice daily for 6 months in a multicenter, randomized, double-masked, parallel group study. RESULTS: Compared with baseline values before treatment, a significant (P < .0001) diurnal reduction in intraocular pressure of 6 to 8 mm Hg was maintained with minimal fluctuation for the duration of treatment. When treatment was switched from timolol to latanoprost, intraocular pressure was reduced by 1.5 ± 0.3 mm Hg (mean ± SEM; 8% change in intraocular pressure; 31% of the intraocular pressure reduction produced by timolol; P < .001) compared with the change in intraocular pressure in patients remaining on latanoprost therapy. Of the patients initially enrolled, 95% successfully completed treatment. There was a slight overall increase in conjunctival hyperemia in patients who switched from timolol to latanoprost, but no change in those who continued latanoprost. The timolol-induced reduction of resting heart rate returned to baseline levels after switching to latanoprost. Of the 247 patients treated with latanoprost during the masked and/or open-label studies, 12 (5%) demonstrated a definite (n = 4) or possible (n = 8) increase in iris pigmentation. CONCLUSIONS: Latanoprost is a well-tolerated ocular hypotensive agent that appears to be more effective than timolol in reducing intraocular pressure. The increase in iris pigmentation appears to be harmless but requires further investigation.
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