Prescription Atropine Therapy

Atropine ophthalmic solution is currently the only pharmaceutical eye drop option available that has been shown to slow myopia progression.   To this day, the exact mechanism by which atropine controls myopia progression remains unclear.   What we do know is that these eye drops are used to relax the eyes’ focusing mechanisms. The pupil is dilated and the focusing muscles of the eye are temporarily immobilized to decrease focusing efforts.   It is known that the higher the concentration of atropine, the more effective it is at slowing myopia.  However, the potential side effects impacting children's vision-related quality of life when using the higher concentration needs to be considered.

 

The most common use of atropine is with lower concentrations, as low as 0.01%.   With low doses,  side effects and adverse reactions are very minimal.  Some children may experience increased glare from slight pupil dilation, mild changes in their close-up focusing and very occasionally some sensitivity to the eye drops or its preservatives.  

With the low-dose form of atropine (0.05% being the most effective), 30% - 50% reduction in myopia progression is seen and a lower rebound effect is noted when treatment is discontinued.

It's important to note that the effectiveness of atropine therapy will vary from child to child; as every child's ocular biology and structure is unique and therefore will respond differently to the eye drops.

Low-Dose Atropine eye drops are a cost-effective treatment for myopia.  As low-dose atropine eye drops are not commercially available, they must be dispensed by a compounding pharmacy.

  • The typical cost per bottle is $75-$120 depending on the supply amount and the pharmacy used.

  • One bottle normally lasts between 1-2-months (30-60 days) depending on how it’s compounded by the pharmacy.  Bottle size is either 5mL (30-days) or 10mL (60-days).  This is also determined by the compounding pharmacy.

  • If you have extended health benefits, your drug plan may cover some or all of the cost.

  • Drops must be stored in the fridge.

  • Dosage is usually 1-drop per day.

Compounding Pharmacies Available in Vancouver:

  • London Drugs Pharmacy 

    • West Broadway 525 West Broadway Vancouver, BC V5Z 1E6    Ph: (604) 872-5177

  • PharmaSave Oak & 42nd Compounding Pharmacy

    • 5791 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 2V7   Ph: (604) 269-3617​

  • Kerrisdale Pharmacy 

    • 5591 West Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6M 3W6   Ph: (604) 261-0333

  • Macdonald's Prescriptions Kitsilano

    • 2188 West Broadway Vancouver, B.C.  V6K 2C8  Ph: (604) 738-0733