Overview of Betaxolol and Levobetaxolol for Dogs and Cats
- Betaxolol and levobetaxolol are topical medications used in the treatment of glaucoma for dogs and cats.
- Glaucoma is a potentially devastating eye disease, caused by the build up of abnormally high pressure in the eye. A normal eye produces and drains watery fluid (called aqueous humor). Pressure within the eye builds up if this fluid does not drain properly, and this pressure can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.
- Both drugs are absorbed across the cornea into the front chamber of the eye (the anterior segment). They decrease the amount of fluid the eye produces, therefore lowering the pressure within the eye. How exactly the drugs work, however, is not fully understood, but they are believed to work on the tissue that makes the fluid within the eye.
- Betaxolol and levobetaxolol belong to a class of drugs known as beta-blockers, which affect beta-adrenergic receptors within the body.
- Betaxolol and levobetaxolol only affect beta-1 adrenergic receptors; therefore, they have minimal effects on the cardiac and respiratory systems. They are generally safe to use in animals with cardiac diseases, such as congestive heart failure, and airway diseases, such as allergic bronchitis and asthma.
- Betaxolol and levobetaxolol are prescription drugs and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
- These drugs are not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but they can be prescribed legally by veterinarians as extra-label drugs.
Brand Names and Other Names of Betaxolol and Levobetaxolol
- These drugs are registered for use in humans only.
- Human formulations: Betaxolol HCl: Betopic S® (Alcon); Levobetaxolol HCl: Betaxon® (Alcon)
Veterinary formulations: None
Uses of Betaxolol and Levobetaxolol for Dogs and Cats
- Betaxolol and levobetaxolol are most often used in animals afflicted with both glaucoma, and heart or respiratory disease.
- Because they are considered to have less potency than other types of topical beta-blockers, they are not used as a first line drug in the treatment of glaucoma in healthy animals.
Precautions and Side Effects
- While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, betaxolol and levobetaxolol can potentially cause side effects in some animals.
- Betaxolol and levobetaxolol should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
- Betaxolol and levobetaxolol may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with betaxolol and levobetaxolol. Such drugs include the oral beta-blocking agents.
How Betaxolol and Levobetaxolol Are Supplied
- Betaxolol HCl is available as a 0.25% suspension in 2.5 ml, 5 ml, 10 ml and 15 ml bottles.
- Levobetaxolol HCl is available as a 0.5% suspension in 5 ml, 10 ml and 15 ml bottles.
Dosing Information of Betaxolol and Levobetaxolol for Dogs and Cats
- Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
- Betaxolol and levobetaxolol are typically administered twice daily. Although three times daily administration may be considered in refractory cases, the efficacy of this higher frequency has not been investigated.
- The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to medication and the development of any adverse effects. Glaucoma medications must be given consistently and on a reliable time schedule. Even if your pet feels better, glaucoma medications should not be stopped unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to do so.