Unoprostone (Ophthalmic)

As a synthetic docosanoid, unoprostone lowers pressure in the eye by increasing the flow of natural eye fluids.


Unoprostone is a liquid solution prescribed to patients by their doctor to treat increased pressure in the eye. This may be a symptom of open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. If these symptoms are not treated, the patient could become blind. Unoprostone increases the flow of natural fluids out of the eye, relieving pressure. Most common side effects of the use of unoprostone are mild. In rare cases, there have been lasting negative effects of the use of this medication.

The patient administers the colorless solution to the affected eye(s) twice daily, or as directed by their doctor. This medication is safe to use for most adults and geriatric patients. It is also safe for children, though the dosage should be determined by a doctor.

Unoprostone is not a cure for open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension, but alleviates symptoms of, and controls, these conditions.

Conditions treated

  • Open-angle glaucoma
  • Ocular Hypertension

Type of Medicine

  • Synthetic Docosanoid

Side Effects

The most common side effects associated with the use of unoprostone are burning, stinging, or itching of the eye, and dry eyes. Often, the body takes time to adjust to new medications and symptoms cease after a short period. If symptoms continue or become worse, the patient should contact their doctor.

Double vision, fever, diarrhea, headache, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea, shivering, sore throat, sweating, trouble sleeping, unusual tiredness, coughing, and vomiting have also been reported. The patient should alert their doctor if these symptoms persist or worsen.

Less commonly, patients have reported instances of redness, swelling, discharge, sensitivity to light, or pain of the eye or eyelid. The patient's doctor should be contacted immediately if they experience any of these symptoms.

Use of unoprostone may change the color of the iris or eyelid. In rare cases, patients have experienced darkening of the iris and the eyelids or skin around the eyes. It may also increase the length, thickness, color, and quantity of eyelashes of the patient. These changes may not take effect immediately upon using unoprostone and may appear after some time has passed. These changes may not be permanent and the color of iris, eyelids, and qualities of eyelashes may return to how they were before use of this medication. More research needs to be done to determine the long-term effects and potential consequences related to these side effects.

There are other side effects not listed here that may occur in some patients. The patient should contact their doctor if they are unsure about anything or if they experience any adverse effects from using unoprostone.

Many patients that use unoprostone experience little to no negative side effects. It is up to the patient and their doctor to decide if the benefits of the medication are greater than the risk of side effects.


The patient should follow all instructions given by their doctor as well as the directions on the prescription label. Unoprostone is a liquid solution to be instilled in the affected eye(s) twice daily.

Before administering the medication, the patient should wash their hands thoroughly and make sure that the dropper for the solution is clean and free of chips or cracks. The dropper tip should not come into contact with any surface, including the eye, to keep it free of germs. The solution container should remain tightly closed when not in use. These precautions help to prevent infection.

If the patient is wearing contact lenses, they should remove them before using the eye drops and wait at least 15 minutes before replacing them. If the patient does not wait, an ingredient in the solution may be absorbed by the contact lenses, which may be harmful to the eyes.

The normal dose for unoprostone is one drop into each affected eye, administered twice a day. The patient should follow the recommendation of their doctor, as the dosage will be different for different patients. The dose for a child might be less and should be determined by a doctor. The dose for geriatric patients is generally the same as adults.

To administer the medication, the patient should tilt their head back, press their finger gently on the skin beneath their lower eyelid and gently pull downward in order to make a pocket. The medication should be dropped in and then the patient should gently close their eye(s) and not blink. They should keep their eye(s) closed and apply pressure to the corner of the eye(s) with their finger for one to two minutes to aid in the absorption of the medication. A tissue or clean towel may be used to wipe up the excess solution.

The patient should not rinse the dropper before replacing it in the container. If the patient is using another kind of eye medication, they should wait at least five minutes before using it.

If the patient misses a dose, they should take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, the patient should not double dose. The patient should use this medication at the same time each day and use it regularly to increase the probability of benefit.

The patient should not change their dosage without consulting their doctor. If the patient sees improvement in their symptoms, they should not stop using the medication until they have checked with their doctor.


There are no known medications that negatively interact with unoprostone. However, the patient should inform their doctor of all other medications they are taking. If using another topical eye medication, the patient should wait at least five minutes between using them.


The patient should tell their doctor if they are allergic to unoprostone or other medications. They should tell their doctor other medications (including non-prescription), vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products they are using or plan to use. The use of alcohol or recreational drugs while using unoprostone may make certain side effects worse, including dizziness. If the patient experiences dizziness or unclear vision, they should not drive or operate machinery.

Unoprostone contains benzalkonium chloride, which may be absorbed by contact lenses. The patient should remove their contact lenses prior to using the medication and wait at least 15 minutes before reinserting them.

In certain cases, there have been reports of bacterial keratitis or ocular infection when multi-use containers have been inadvertently contaminated. The patient should refrain from touching the dropper to any surfaces or washing it with water and keeping the container tightly closed when not in use. Patients that develop an intercurrent ocular condition (e.g. trauma or infection) or have ocular surgery should immediately seek the advice of their doctor regarding the use of a multi-use container. Using a contaminated dropper or solution could result in serious damage to the eye and possible loss of vision.

Aphakic patients, pseudophakic patients with a torn posterior lens capsule, and patients with known risk factors for macular edema should use unoprostone with caution. There have been reports of macular edema. Patients with active intraocular inflammation (e.g. uveitis) may experience increased inflammation from the use of this medication.

Some patients using unoprostone have experienced an increase in brown pigment in their iris, making their eyes appear darker. There have also been reports of darkening in the pigment around the eyes and the eyelashes. These changes may not always occur immediately and may be reversible with the discontinuation of this medication.

Patients that are pregnant, breast-feeding, or become pregnant during the use of unoprostone should consult their doctor. However, there are no definitive studies suggesting that the use of this medication will have adverse effects.

The use of unoprostone may cause the patient's eyes to be more sensitive to light than normal. Wearing sunglasses and avoiding too much exposure to bright light may alleviate this discomfort.

This medication may be harmful if swallowed, though the risks of adverse effects are low. If the patient swallows the solution or suspects overdose, they should contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or the emergency room at 911.


Unoprostone should be kept at room temperature, out of excess heat and moisture. It may be kept in the refrigerator. The bathroom is not and ideal place for this medication. It should be kept out of reach of children and pets.

The container should remain tightly closed at all times the patient is not using the medication. This prevents the dropper or solution from becoming contaminated, which could cause infection.

When the medication is out of date or the patient no longer has use for it, this medication should not be thrown away, in case children or pets get to them. It should also not be flushed down the toilet. The patient should talk to their doctor or visit the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) website to determine the best way to dispose of unused unoprostone. Outdated or unneeded medication should not be kept around the house.


Unoprostone can be an effective treatment to relieve pressure in the eyes as a symptom of open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Left untreated, extreme pressure in the eyes could result in blindness. Though unoprostone treats the symptoms of these conditions, it does not cure them.

This medication is generally safe to use, though the patient should consider the possible side effects and talk with their doctor about the pros and cons of using this medication. Patients that use contact lenses are able to use this medication by simply taking out their contact lenses and leaving them out for fifteen minutes after using it.

Severe side effects and allergies to this medication are rare. That being said, it is important that the patient share their medical history and current health regimen with their doctor to determine if this medication is appropriate. The patient should take care to ensure cleanliness when using unoprostone to avoid any risk of infection. Patients who have recently undergone eye surgery are particularly susceptible to these complications. When in doubt, the patient should consult their doctor.

Last Reviewed:
December 25, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
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