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Generic Name:

timolol, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Blocadren (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for timolol

Oral tablet
1

Timolol is an oral drug that’s used to treat high blood pressure and prevent migraine headaches. It’s also used to reduce the risk of more heart complications in people who have survived the initial phase of a heart attack.

2

More common side effects of taking this drug include fatigue, headache, slower heart rate, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

3

Your dose depends on the condition that’s being treated. The dose can range from 10–60 mg taken by mouth per day.

4

Don’t stop taking timolol suddenly. Doing so can cause more chest pain and a heart attack. If you need to stop taking this drug, your doctor will slowly decrease your dose over 1–2 weeks.

5

Use this drug with caution if you have breathing problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It can make the symptoms of your lung disease worse.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Warning for stopping the drug. Don’t abruptly stop taking timolol. Stopping this drug suddenly can cause more chest pain and may make your heart condition worse. If you need to stop taking this drug, your doctor will slowly decrease your dose over 1–2 weeks. Your doctor will monitor you closely. If you develop chest pain or heart problems, you may need to start taking timolol again, at least temporarily. 

Heart failure

Timolol helps the heart from working as hard. In rare cases, this can lead to heart failure in people who have been on the drug for a long time. Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of heart failure. These include shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in your legs.

What is timolol?

Timolol is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

Timolol is only available as a generic drug.

Timolol may be taken as part of a combination therapy with other medications to treat high blood pressure, especially thiazide diuretics.

Why it's used

Timolol is used to treat high blood pressure and prevent migraine headaches. It’s also used to reduce the risk of more heart complications in people who have survived the initial phase of a heart attack.

How it works

Timolol belongs to a class of drugs called beta-blockers. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

See Details

How it works

Timolol belongs to a class of drugs called beta-blockers. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

Timolol slows your heart rate and reduces the work on the heart. This may improve your heart health after a heart attack.

It’s not fully understood how timolol works to prevent migraines. It may help increase oxygen delivery, control the size of blood vessels, and decrease inflammation in your body. These actions may help prevent migraines.

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SECTION 2 of 5

timolol Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of timolol include:

  • fatigue or tiredness

  • headache

  • slower heart rate

  • dizziness

  • shortness of breath

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • chest pain

  • irregular heart rate

  • severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

    • trouble breathing
    • swelling of your throat or tongue
    • hives
    • rash
  • heart failure. Symptoms include:

    • shortness of breath
    • fast or irregular heart rate
    • swelling of your arms or legs
    • sudden weight gain 
  • liver problems. Symptoms include:

    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
    • swelling in the upper right part of your stomach
  • trouble breathing (bronchospasm)

  • very low blood pressure and heart rate. Symptoms include:

    • dizziness
    • fainting
    • lightheadedness
  • depression

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Timolol may cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

timolol May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Timolol can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol interaction

The use of drinks that contain alcohol can increase your risk of low blood pressure from timolol. If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Clonidine

Taking these drugs together may increase your risk of high blood pressure after you stop taking clonidine. If you take both drugs and then need to stop taking them, your doctor will have you stop taking timolol several days before you slowly stop taking clonidine. If you’re replacing clonidine with timolol, you should wait several days to start timolol after stopping clonidine.

Depression or high blood pressure drugs

Taking these medicines with timolol may cause a slow heart rate and low blood pressure. This can cause dizziness, temporary loss of consciousness, or a drop in blood pressure when you stand up from a sitting or lying position (orthostatic hypotension).

These drugs include:

  • reserpine

Heart rhythm and rate problem drugs

Certain heart drugs can stop timolol from breaking down. This can cause increased levels of the drug in your blood. This raises your risk of side effects, such as slow heart rate, low blood pressure, and trouble breathing.

These drugs include:

  • quinidine

High blood pressure and heart rate problem drugs

Taking these drugs with timolol may cause low blood pressure and a slowed heart rate.

These drugs include:

  • nifedipine
  • diltiazem
  • verapamil

Pain drugs

Taking timolol with certain pain drugs can decrease the blood pressure-lowering effects of timolol. Your doctor should watch you closely to make sure your blood pressure doesn’t increase.

These drugs include:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as:
    • ibuprofen
    • naproxen

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Timolol warnings
overactive thyroid
People with overactive thyroid

Timolol can mask the symptoms of a hyperactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), such as higher than normal heart rate. If you suddenly stop taking timolol and have hyperthyroidism, your symptoms can get worse. You may even get a condition called thyroid storm, which is life threatening. 

allergies
People with allergies

If you use epinephrine to treat your allergic reactions, it may not work as well. Timolol may block some of epinephrine’s effect.

breathing problems
People with breathing problems

You shouldn’t take timolol if you have asthma or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  If you have mild-moderate COPD or other breathing problems you should use this drug cautiously with guidance from your doctor. This medication can make it harder to breathe or stop certain breathing medications from working as well.

diabetes
People with diabetes

Timolol can mask the symptoms of low blood sugar such as higher than normal heart rate, sweating, and blurred vision. This can be serious and lead to coma if it’s not treated. Use this drug with caution if you’re taking insulin or other diabetes medicines.

heart failure
People with heart failure

You shouldn’t use this drug if you have overt heart failure. It can make your condition worse. In some cases, this drug can be given to people with a history of heart failure. Your doctor may suggest this drug if you’re taking medications to treat your heart failure and you’re being closely monitored.

liver problems
People with liver problems

Timolol is broken down in your liver. If you have liver problems, your doctor may lower your dose.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

Timolol is cleared from your body by your kidneys. If your kidneys don’t work well, your doctor may reduce your dose. If you’re on dialysis, you might have lower blood pressure at doses above 20 mg.

myasthenia gravis
People with myasthenia gravis

Timolol can make muscle weakness that’s caused by myasthenia worse. You may have double vision, drooping or falling of your upper or lower eyelid, and weakness. Use this drug with caution.

blood flow to the brain
People with problems with blood flow to the brain

Use this drug with caution if you have problems with blood flow to your brain. If you have symptoms of decreased blood flow to your brain while you’re taking timolol, your doctor may take you off of this medicine.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

Timolol is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Timolol may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

seniors
For seniors

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

children
For children

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children under the age of 18 years.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Timolol may increase your risk of complications from surgery or general anesthesia used during surgery. Talk to your doctor if you’re going to have surgery and take this drug.

allergies
Allergies

Timolol can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives
  • rash

Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

If you use epinephrine to treat your allergic reactions, it may not work as well. Timolol may block some of epinephrine’s effect.

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take timolol (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Hypertension

Generic: timolol

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The starting dose is 10 mg taken by mouth twice per day. Your doctor may increase or decrease your dose after 7 days based on your heart rate and blood pressure. The maintenance dose is 20–40 mg per day. The maximum dose is 30 mg taken twice per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children under the age of 18 years.

Myocardial infarction

Generic: timolol

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

10 mg taken by mouth twice per day

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children under the age of 18 years.

Migraine prevention

Generic: timolol

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

The starting dose is 10 mg taken by mouth twice per day. The maximum dose is 30 mg per day, which can be given in divided doses. If you don’t respond to the maximum dose after 6–8 weeks, your doctor may take you off of this medicine.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children under the age of 18 years.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Timolol comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you don't take it at all

If you don’t take this medication, your blood pressure may increase. This could raise your risk of a heart attack or stroke. If you’re taking this drug for migraines, your headaches won’t improve.

If you stop taking it suddenly

Don’t stop taking timolol without talking to your doctor. Stopping this drug suddenly may make your chest pain worse and cause a heart attack. If you need to stop taking this drug, your doctor will slowly decrease your dose over 1–2 weeks.

If you don't take it on schedule

If you don’t take timolol on schedule, your blood pressure might get worse. This could raise your risk of a  heart attack or stroke. Try to take timolol at the same time every day. If you’re taking this drug for migraines, your headaches won’t go away

If you take too much

If you take too much timolol, your blood pressure and heart rate might become severely low. You might also develop acute heart failure. Symptoms of these conditions include:

  • low blood pressure, which may make you feel dizzy or faint
  • slower heart rate
  • trouble breathing
  • low blood sugar
  • confusion
  • seizure

If you think that you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or poison control center or go to the emergency room.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s just a few hours before the time for your next dose, then wait and only take one dose at that time.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could cause toxic side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You may be able to tell that this drug is working if you check your blood pressure and it’s lower. Your doctor will also monitor your blood pressure and heart condition.

If you’re taking this drug for migraines, you may be able to tell it’s working if you have fewer headaches.

Timolol is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking timolol
take with or without food
You can take timolol with or without food
crush or cut the tablet
You can crush or cut the tablet
storage
Store timolol at room temperature
See Details
refillable
Prescription is refillable
Travel
Travel
See Details
Self-management
Self-management
See Details
Clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
Hidden costs
Hidden costs
See Details

Store timolol at room temperature

Keep it from 68–77°F (20–25°C).

Keep this drug away from light and high temperature.

Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you, such as in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

You may need to check your blood pressure at home. You should keep a log with the date, time of day, and your blood pressure readings. Bring this diary with you to your doctor appointments.

You’ll need to purchase a home blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure at home. You can purchase one at the pharmacy.

Clinical monitoring

During treatment with timolol, your doctor will check your:

  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • liver function
  • kidney function
  • heart function

Hidden costs

You may need to purchase a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure at home. These are available at most pharmacies.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does timolol Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for timolol

Walmart $4.00
Kroger Pharmacy $5.15
Sams Club $6.58
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for timolol on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for timolol on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on September 24, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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