Betagan Warnings and Precautions
Before starting treatment, information on Betagan should be fully reviewed with your healthcare provider. For example, you may not be able to safely use Betagan if you have certain medical conditions, such as heart block, asthma, or a slow heart rate. Warnings and precautions with Betagan also apply to people with certain allergies and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Betagan?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Betagan® (levobunolol hydrochloride) if you have:
- Heart failure
- Had a recent heart attack
- A slow heart rate (bradycardia)
- Heart block
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- An upcoming surgery
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Betagan Warnings and PrecautionsSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this medication include the following:
- Even though Betagan is an eye drop, a significant amount of the medication may be absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, most of the usual warnings or precautions with other beta blockers also apply to Betagan.
- Like all beta blockers, Betagan can worsen heart failure in some situations. If you have heart failure, your healthcare provider may need to monitor you very closely while you are taking Betagan. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if your heart failure symptoms seem to worsen.
- Beta blockers can worsen breathing problems like asthma or COPD. In many cases, Betagan is not recommended for people with such lung problems.
- If you have an upcoming surgery, make sure your surgeon and anesthesiologist know you are taking Betagan, as it may affect the choice of medications used during the surgery.
- Beta blockers can mask some of the symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), particularly the "racing heart" feeling. This can cause serious problems for people with diabetes, who need to be able to sense that they have low blood sugar (in order to correct it before it causes life-threatening problems). Some beta blockers may also worsen low blood sugar, although it is not known if this is a problem for Betagan.
- Beta blockers can mask some of the symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
- Betagan can potentially interact with a number of other medications (see Betagan Drug Interactions).
- Betagan contains sodium metabisulfite, a sulfite substance. People with asthma are at a higher risk for allergic reactions to sulfites, compared with the general population.
- Betagan is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not currently known (see Betagan and Pregnancy).
- It is not known if Betagan passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Betagan and Breastfeeding).