Combined therapy of pilocarpine or latanoprost with timolol versus latanoprost monotherapy

Michael Diestelhorst, Jean Philippe Nordmann, Carol B. Toris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Adjunctive intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering therapy is widely used today, as one-third of all patients being treated for glaucoma need additional therapy to reach and maintain healthy IOPs. Timolol, latanoprost, and pilocarpine are three potent drugs that have been used in combination to reduce IOP. Timolol reduces the production rate of aqueous humor to achieve the IOP decrease. Latanoprost and pilocarpine both affect aqueous outflow, although by different mechanisms. The IOP efficacy of combined therapy with timolol and pilocarpine compared with timolol and latanoprost or with latanoprost alone has been investigated in three multicenter, randomized, clinical trials in Europe. This is a review of those published trials. In 2 of the 3 studies, the additional IOP lowering effect of latanoprost 0.005% administered once daily was compared with pilocarpine 2% administered 3 times daily in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) or ocular hypertension currently on monotherapy with timolol 0.5% twice daily. These 6-month studies found that the timolol and latanoprost combination reduced IOP more and was better tolerated with fewer side-effects than the timolol and pilocarpine combination. At 6 months, there was no evidence of long-term drift in IOP with timolol and latanoprost. This combined therapy provides an effective and safe option for lowering IOP in glaucoma patients. These results suggest that the timolol/latanoprost combination is preferable to the timolol/pilocarpine combination not only with regard to side effects but also to the magnitude of IOP reduction. Two of the 3 studies compared latanoprost monotherapy with timolol and pilocarpine combined therapy in patients with POAG, various other glaucomas, or ocular hypertension. Treatment was for 6 weeks or 6 months. In both studies, latanoprost was more effective and better tolerated than the combination of timolol and pilocarpine. These results suggest that latanoprost alone should be tried before the addition of pilocarpine to timolol therapy is considered. The convenience of daily administration of a single drop of latanoprost versus multiple drops of timolol and pilocarpine should improve patient compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S155-S161
JournalSurvey of Ophthalmology
Issue number4 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • Glaucoma
  • Intraocular pressure
  • Latanoprost pilocarpine
  • Prostaglandin analog
  • Timolol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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