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Azelastine (Ophthalmic)

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Azelastine (Ophthalmic)

US Brand Names

• Optivar


Azelastine (a-ZEL-as-teen) ophthalmic (eye) solution is used to treat itching of the eye caused by a condition known as allergic conjunctivitis. It works by preventing the effects of certain inflammatory substances, which are produced by cells in your eyes and sometimes cause allergic reactions.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form:


    • Solution (eye drops) (U.S.)

Special Considerations

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For azelastine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to azelastine. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives.


Azelastine has not been studied in pregnant women. However, studies in animals have found that azelastine, given in high doses, causes harmful effects on the fetus. Before taking this medicine, make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant.


It is not known whether azelastine passes into human breast milk after being used in the eye. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who are taking this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.


Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of azelastine in children under the age of 3 years with use in other age groups.

Older adults

This medicine has been tested and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.


Do not wear contact lenses if your eyes are red . If your eyes are not red, contact lenses should be removed before you use this medicine. Also, you should wait at least 10 minutes after using this medicine before putting the contact lenses back in.

To use:

    • The bottle is only partially full to provide proper drop control.

    • First, wash your hands. Tilt the head back and, pressing your finger gently on the skin just beneath the lower eyelid, pull the lower eyelid away from the eye to make a space. Drop the medicine into this space. Let go of the eyelid and gently close the eyes. Do not blink. Keep the eyes closed for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the medicine to be absorbed by the eye.

    • If you think you did not get the drop of medicine into your eye properly, use another drop.

    • Immediately after using the eye drops, wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them.

To keep the medicine as germ-free as possible, do not touch the applicator tip to any surface (including the eye) . Also, keep the container tightly closed. Serious damage to the eye and possible loss of vision may result from using contaminated eye drops.


The dose of azelastine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of azelastine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

    • For ophthalmic dosage form (eye drops):

      o For eye allergy:

        Adults and children 3 years of age and older-Use one drop in the affected eye twice a day.

        Children younger than 3 years of age-Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, use it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.


To store this medicine:

    • Keep bottle in an upright position.

    • Keep out of the reach of children.

    • Keep the medicine from freezing. Store the medicine at room temperature.

    • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Ask your health care professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.


If your symptoms do not improve within a few days or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common

Cough; difficulty breathing; noisy breathing; shortness of breath; tightness in chest; wheezing.

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Bitter taste in mouth; headaches; temporary eye burning or stinging.

Less common

Burning, dry or itching eyes; blurred vision, temporary; chills; diarrhea; eye discharge or excessive tearing; fever; general feeling of discomfort or illness; hoarseness or other voice changes; itching skin; joint pain; loss of appetite; muscle aches and pains; nausea; redness, pain, swelling of eye, eyelid, or inner lining of eyelid; runny nose; shivering; sneezing; sore throat; stuffy nose; sweating; tender, swollen glands in neck; trouble in swallowing; trouble sleeping; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomiting.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

January 03, 2001

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