Some of the views expressed in the following notes on newly approved products should be regarded as preliminary, as there may have been limited published data at the time of publication, and little experience in Australia of their safety or efficacy. However, the Editorial Executive Committee believes that comments made in good faith at an early stage may still be of value. Before new drugs are prescribed, the Committee believes it is important that more detailed information is obtained from the manufacturer's approved product information, a drug information centre or some other appropriate source.

Betagan (Allergan)
2.5 mg/mL and 5 mg/mL eye drops
Indication: reduction of elevated intraocular pressure

Glaucoma affects approximately 1-2% of people over 60 years of age. It is caused by raised intraocular pressure and can lead to blindness. Beta adrenergicantagonists are one option for treating glaucoma. They are thought to act by reducing the production of aqueous humour and have an advantage over parasympathomimeticagents as they have less effect on pupil size. Levobunolol is an addition to the range of beta blockers suitable for ophthalmic use.

It has been approved for the control of intraocular pressure in chronic open angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension and the treatment of acutely elevated intraocular pressure following laser capsulotomy and extra-capsular cataract extraction.

Systemic adverse effects can result from the use of eye drops containing betablockers. Levobunolol is therefore contraindicated in patients with conditions such as asthma.