Specific Precautions and Warnings With Timolol
Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking timolol
include the following:
- As with all beta blockers, you should not abruptly stop taking timolol tablets, as serious problems (including heart attacks) may result. Your healthcare provider will advise you about how to safely stop taking this medication. People are usually recommended to slowly reduce the dose over a period of one to two weeks, with careful monitoring, and to minimize physical activity during this time. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop chest pain or any other problems while stopping treatment.
- Beta blockers can worsen breathing problems like asthma or COPD. If you have breathing problems, check with your healthcare provider before taking timolol.
- Like all beta blockers, timolol can worsen heart failure in some situations. However, beta blockers are also useful for the treatment of heart failure. If you have heart failure, your healthcare provider may need to monitor you closely while you take timolol. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if your heart failure symptoms seem to become worse.
- Timolol may worsen myasthenia gravis symptoms or may even potentially cause this condition. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop symptoms of this problem, such as muscle weakness, double vision, or a droopy eyelid.
- If you have an upcoming surgery, make sure your surgeon and anesthesiologist know you take timolol, as it may affect the choice of medications used during the procedure.
- 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 becomes life-threatening.
- Beta blockers can mask some of the symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Stopping timolol suddenly could cause symptoms of a "thyroid storm" (a sudden and severe worsening of hyperthyroidism symptoms).
- Timolol can potentially interact with many other medications (see Drug Interactions With Timolol).
- The kidneys and liver help remove timolol from the body. Therefore, if you have kidney or liver disease, your healthcare provider may need to monitor your response to the medication more closely and a lower dosage may be recommended.
- This medication could cause problems for people with poor blood circulation in the brain, such as people who have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack. If you have had such problems in the past, check with your healthcare provider before taking timolol.
- If you have an anaphylactic allergy (the type that affects the entire body and often interferes with breathing), timolol may make you more sensitive to the allergen and can make the usual treatments (such as epinephrine or an EpiPen®) less effective.
- Timolol 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 Timolol and Pregnancy).
- Timolol passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Timolol and Breastfeeding).