Zioptan (Tafluprost) - Ophthalmic

Warning:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't assigned any black box warnings to Zioptan (tafluprost).

What Is Zioptan?

Zioptan (tafluprost) is a prescription option used to treat glaucoma (high eye pressure). Zioptan is a prostaglandin analog. It lowers your eye pressure by increasing the flow of certain eye fluids out of your eyes.

Zioptan is available as an eye drop.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Tafluprost

Brand Name(s): Zioptan

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Prostaglandin analog

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: No

Administration Route: Ophthalmic (Eye)

Active Ingredient: Tafluprost

Dosage Form(s): Eye drop

What Is Zioptan Used For?

Zioptan is used for glaucoma.

Glaucoma affects roughly 3 million people in the United States (U.S.)—with open-angle glaucoma being the most common type.

Many people with glaucoma often don't experience any early symptoms. For this reason, around 50% of people with glaucoma are unaware that they have this eye condition, which is the second-leading cause of blindness in the world. Unfortunately, there's currently no cure for glaucoma. However, if it's caught early, there are ways to prevent vision loss.

While anyone can get glaucoma, the following people have a higher risk for this eye condition.

  • Older than 60 years of age—especially if you're Hispanic, Latino, or Latina
  • African-American (Black) and over 40 years old
  • Family history of glaucoma

How to Use Zioptan

Since directions may vary for different eye medications, carefully read the directions and packaging label on your container.

In general, however, squeeze one drop from the single-use Zioptan vial into each eye at nighttime. Also, keep the following in mind about Zioptan:

  • Don't touch the tip of the Zioptan vial to your eye or any surface. This is to prevent injuring your eye or contaminating (dirtying) the solution.
  • Zioptan is available in single-use vials. So, don't open a vial until you're ready to use it right away. Immediately throw away the opened vial after each scheduled dosing time at night. Don't save an opened vial to use on a future date.
  • Wait between different eye products. Wait five minutes between each eye medication.

The following are also some general steps on how to use eye drops:

  1. Wash your hands before using your eye drops.
  2. Take out your contact lenses. You can usually wear your contact lenses again after using your eye drops. The typical recommendation is to wait for at least 15 minutes before placing contact lenses back in your eyes.
  3. Tilt your head back to look up.
  4. Pull down your lower eyelid to form a small cup or pocket.
  5. Place one eye drop into this pocket.
  6. Close your eyes and press down on your tear duct, the corner of your eye closest to your nose. Do this for at least one minute.
  7. Repeat steps three through six for the other eye—if recommended by your healthcare provider.
  8. Wash your hands after using your eye drops.

Storage

If you use a mail-order pharmacy, Zioptan shouldn't be used after two days from its dispensing or shipping date. If you have any questions about this, contact your pharmacy.

If you receive your Zioptan prescription less than two days from its dispensed or shipped date, keep the medication in the refrigerator between 36 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (F).

Once you open the foil pouch that contains single-use Zioptan vials, these unopened vials can be stored at room temperature between 68 degrees to 77 degrees. After 30 days at room temperature, you'll need to throw these unopened vials away.

Protect Zioptan from moisture. Also, keep your medications tightly closed and out of the reach of children and pets, ideally locked in a cabinet or closet.

Try to avoid pouring unused and expired drugs down the drain or in the toilet. Visit the FDA's website to know where and how to discard all unused and expired drugs. You can also find disposal boxes in your area. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider if you have any questions about the best ways to dispose of your medications.

If you plan to travel with Zioptan, get familiar with your final destination's regulations. Checking with the U.S. embassy or consulate might be a helpful resource. In general, however, make a copy of your Zioptan prescription. It's also a good idea to keep your medication in its original container from your pharmacy with your name on the label. If you have any questions about traveling with your medicine, be sure to ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

How Long Does Zioptan Take to Work?

Two to four hours after you first use Zioptan, your eye pressure should begin to decrease. For maximum effectiveness, Zioptan might require up to 12 hours.

Off-Label Uses

Zioptan doesn't currently have any off-label uses.

What Are the Side Effects of Zioptan?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects with Zioptan may include:

Severe Side Effects

Get medical help right away if you develop the following serious side effects:

Call 911 if your symptoms feel vision-threatening or life-threatening.

Long-Term Side Effects

Possible long-term side effects with Zioptan may include:

  • Cloudy vision
  • Eye color changes

Report Side Effects

Zioptan may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Zioptan Should I Use?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For ophthalmic dosage form (eye drops):
    • For glaucoma or hypertension of the eye:
      • Adults—Use one drop in the affected eye once a day in the evening.
      • Children—Use is not recommended.

Modifications

The following modifications (changes) should be kept in mind when using Zioptan (tafluprost):

Severe allergic reaction: Avoid using Zioptan if you have a known allergy to it or its ingredients. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a complete list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

Pregnancy: In rat and rabbit animal studies, tafluprost intravenous (into the vein) injections were linked to negative effects on the fetus. We don't know enough about the safety and effectiveness of Zioptan in pregnant people and their unborn fetuses.

Discuss with your healthcare provider if you plan to become pregnant or are pregnant. They will help you weigh the benefits and risks of Zioptan during your pregnancy.

People of childbearing or reproductive potential: Effective contraceptive (birth control) is recommended for people assigned female at birth with childbearing potential.

Breastfeeding: In rat animal studies, tafluprost was present in breastmilk. In humans, there is no information about using tafluprost while nursing. After placing tafluprost in your eyes, however, very low levels are expected in human breastmilk. As a result, very little tafluprost is expected to reach the nursing baby.

For this reason, experts support using tafluprost eye drops while breastfeeding. To further prevent tafluprost from reaching your breastmilk, press down on your tear duct (corner of your eye closest to your nose) for at least one minute—after placing tafluprost in your eye. Also, remove any excess eye drop solution with tissue paper.

Talk with your healthcare provider if you plan to breastfeed. They will help you weigh the benefits and harms of Zioptan while nursing. They can also discuss the different ways available to feed your baby.

Older adults over 65: There are no differences in response to Zioptan between older and younger adults. However, older adults with several medical conditions or taking several medications should use caution. Older adults tend to be more sensitive to side effects from medications.

Children: Zioptan isn't recommended in children. There are concerns about eye color changes after long-term use with Zioptan.

Asthma: There are reports of worsening asthma with Zioptan. If you have asthma or another lung condition, your healthcare provider may want to monitor you for worsening symptoms closely.

Missed Dose

If you accidentally forgot your Zioptan dose, use your eye drops as soon as you remember. However, if it's already close to your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and use Zioptan at your next scheduled dosing time. Don't try to double up to make up for the missed dose.

Try to find ways that work for you to help yourself remember to routinely keep your appointments and use your Zioptan eye drops. If you miss too many doses, Zioptan might be less effective.

Overdose: What Happens If I Use Too Much Zioptan?

There is limited information available about Zioptan overdoses. Using too much Zioptan, however, might make this medication less effective.

If you think that you're experiencing an overdose or life-threatening symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What Happens If I Overdose on Zioptan?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Zioptan, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Zioptan, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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Your eye doctor will want to examine your eyes at regular visits to make sure that the medicine is working properly and is not causing unwanted effects.

This medicine may cause a brown color in the iris (colored part), eyelid, or eyelashes of your treated eye. Your eyelashes may also become longer, thicker, and darker. Some of these changes may be permanent even if you stop using tafluprost. Check with your doctor if you have any questions about this.

Check with your doctor right away if you have an eye injury, eye infection, or plan to have eye surgery.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Zioptan?

Before using Zioptan (tafluprost), talk with your healthcare provider if any of the following applies to you:

  • Severe allergic reaction: If you have a severe allergic reaction to Zioptan or its components (ingredients), this medication isn't a viable option for you.
  • Pregnancy: There is little information about the effects and safety of Zioptan on the unborn fetus. Reach out to your healthcare provider to discuss the benefits and risks of Zioptan during your pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding: The chances of tafluprost reaching your nursing baby are very low. For this reason, experts support using tafluprost eye drops while breastfeeding. To further prevent tafluprost from reaching your breastmilk, press down on your tear duct (corner of your eye closest to your nose) for at least one minute—after placing tafluprost in your eye. Also, remove any excess eye drop solution with tissue paper. Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits and harms of Zioptan while breastfeeding.
  • Children: Zioptan isn't recommended in children. There are concerns about eye color changes after long-term use with Zioptan.
  • Older adults over 65: There are no differences in response to Zioptan between older and younger adults. In general, however, older adults should use caution.

What Other Medications Interact With Zioptan?

If you have multiple eye medications, don't immediately use one after another. Separate Zioptan from other eye medications by at least five minutes.

For more detailed information about medication interactions with Zioptan, talk with your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

And be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about any other medicines you take or plan to take, including over-the-counter (OTC), nonprescription products, vitamins, herbs, or plant-based medicines.

What Medications Are Similar?

Zioptan (tafluprost) is a prostaglandin analog. Other prostaglandin analogs that are also used to treat glaucoma may include:

  • Lumigan (bimatoprost)
  • Xalatan (latanoprost)
  • Travatan Z (travoprost)

The following is some interesting information about these medications:

  • People using bimatoprost or travoprost are more likely to experience red or stinging eyes. Now, travoprost is only available with the Sofzia preservative in place of benzalkonium chloride. So, travoprost should be more gentle on the eyes.
  • People tend to experience fewer eye-related side effects with latanoprost.
  • Latanoprost easily breaks down, making it quickly ineffective. For this reason, it's only available in bottles that contain small amounts of medication.
  • Bimatoprost doesn't easily break down when compared to latanoprost. So, bimatoprost is available in bottles that have higher amounts of medication.
  • Bimatoprost isn't available in a clear bottle—like latanoprost and travoprost. So, this might make it harder for people to monitor their remaining supply of bimatoprost drops.
  • Travoprost doesn't require refrigeration.
  • Other prostaglandin analogs are available as generic versions.
  • Zioptan is the only prostaglandin analog that's available in single-use preservative-free vials.

Since all these eye drops are prostaglandin analogs, they're not typically used together.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is Zioptan available?

    Zioptan is available as a prescription from your healthcare provider. Your local retail pharmacy may carry Zioptan. If Zioptan isn't in stock, the pharmacy staff might be able to order it for you.

  • How much does Zioptan cost?

    The FDA approved Zioptan generics, but they might not be available yet. So, Zioptan might be expensive without insurance.

    If cost is a concern, one option is to work with your pharmacist and healthcare provider. They can help switch you to another prostaglandin analog that has a generic version.

    Zioptan's manufacturer also offers a savings card. To see if you meet eligibility requirements, visit Akorn's website to answer a few questions. You can also call 781-832-3664.

    Other potentially helpful resources may include: NeedyMedsSimplefillBenefitsCheckUpMedicare Rights CenterState Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs)Rx Outreach, or FundFinder.

  • Will I need other medications in addition to Zioptan?

    It depends. Some people will have more than one medication to treat glaucoma.

  • How long will I need to use Zioptan?

    If Zioptan is working for you, your healthcare provider will likely encourage you to continue using it every day.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Using Zioptan?

If you're using Zioptan eye drops, chances are glaucoma has been negatively affecting your quality of life. You may have tried different approaches or treatments. While living with glaucoma does have its challenges, there are ways to prevent vision loss and help improve your quality of life. Refer below for some general tips to support your health:

  • Take glaucoma-related medications as recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • Learn more about glaucoma.
  • Keep up with your appointments to monitor your eye pressure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you're taking steroid medications—even steroid eye drops. These medications can raise your eye pressure.
  • Be careful with certain exercises which may raise your eye pressure. Talk with your healthcare provider and a qualified trainer to ensure your activities are benefiting you and not increasing your eye pressure.
  • Avoid placing your head below your heart for an extended time period. Being in this position for too long will raise your eye pressure.
  • Try not to sleep with your eyes against your pillow.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of low blood pressure, especially at night. Some people experience low blood pressure at night from blood pressure medications. Low blood pressure at night may worsen your glaucoma condition.
  • Consider support groups or work with a mental healthcare provider to help you find coping strategies to change the way you think, feel, react, or respond to living with glaucoma.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Zioptan label.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Don't let glaucoma steal you sight!

  3. National Eye Institute. Glaucoma.

  4. American Academy of Ophthalmology. How to put in eye drops.

  5. National Eye Institute. How to put in eye drops.

  6. Pharmacy Times. Medication review: prostaglandin analogs for glaucoma.

  7. LactMed. Tafluprost.

  8. MedlinePlus. Tafluprost ophthalmic.

  9. Food and Drug Administration. Drugs@FDA: FDA-approved drugs.

  10. National Eye Institute. Glaucoma medicines.

  11. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 10 things to do today to prevent vision loss from glaucoma.

By Ross Phan, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP, BCPS
Ross is a writer for Verywell with years of experience practicing pharmacy in various settings. She is also a board-certified clinical pharmacist and the founder of Off Script Consults.