Important Medication in Short Supply for Glaucoma Patients

February 19, 2018 05:41 PM

An important medication for glaucoma patients is in short supply. Patients like Ronald Webb rely on a prescription medication called "Dorzolamide" to see. He uses the eye drops twice a day.

"One of my eyes is almost gone," Webb said. "It doesn't matter if you hold two fingers up or whatever, I can't see anything."


Glaucoma (According to the National Eye Institute)

  • A group of diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness.

Who is at risk?

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • People with a family history of glaucoma 

Symptoms of Glaucoma

  • At first, open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms. It causes no pain. Vision stays normal. Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes.
  • Without treatment, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their peripheral (side) vision. 
  • Over time, central vision (straight-ahead) may decrease over time until no vision remains.

But suddenly Dorzolamide wasn't available at his pharmacy, or anywhere else he checked.  According to the FDA website, the drug has been in shortage since January 24th. Instead, Webb says he's been prescribed an alternative drug called "Azopt" which is much more expensive.

"It costs $190, compared to the $18 I was paying before," he said. "A big price difference."

According to one of the pharmaceutical companies that makes Dorzolamide, the drug is on backorder and unclear when it will be readily available. 

To help with costs for people like Webb, a coupon for Azopt is provided here


Ellen Galles

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