Glaucoma: A review of adjunctive therapy and new management strategies

Jess T. Whitson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss throughout the world. Treatment for glaucoma consists of reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) to an acceptable target range to prevent further optic nerve damage. Typically, this involves the selection of a topical IOP-lowering agent. Five major classes of glaucoma medications are presently available for clinical use. These include α-adrenergic agonists, β-adrenergic antagonists (β-blockers), carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs), cholinergics and prostaglandin analogs (PGAs). Although β-blockers enjoyed great success as first-line glaucoma therapy for many years, recently the PGAs have gained favor as the initial treatment of choice for most patients. Although the PGAs offer robust IOP reduction as monotherapy, a significant number of patients will require an adjunctive agent for adequate IOP control. Recent studies have demonstrated that α-agonists, β-blockers and CAIs can be used safely and effectively as adjunctive therapy for patients being treated with a PGA. Comparison studies are beginning to appear in the literature to help determine which adjunctive agent is the most effective when used in combination with a PGA. Additional IOP-lowering efficacy with adjunctive therapy does have limitations, particularly with the addition of a third or fourth agent. For those patients on maximal tolerated medical therapy who still need additional IOP reduction, other available options include laser trabeculoplasty and filtration surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3237-3249
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number18
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • carbonic anhydrase inhibitor
  • cholinergics
  • glaucoma
  • intraocular pressure
  • ocular hypertension
  • prostaglandin analog
  • α-agonist
  • β-blocker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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