Azelastine Ophthalmic
Brand Name(s):
  • Optivar®
WHY is this medicine prescribed?
Ophthlamic azelastine is used to relieve the itching of allergic pink eye. Azelastine is in a class of medications called antihistamines. It works by blocking histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms.

HOW should this medicine be used?
Ophthalmic azelastine comes as a solution (liquid) to instill in the eye. It is usually instilled in the affected eye(s) twice a day. To help you remember to use azelastine, use it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use azelastine exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

To instill the eye drops, follow these steps:
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Check the dropper tip to make sure that it is not chipped or cracked.
  • Avoid touching the dropper tip against your eye or anything else; eye drops and droppers must be kept clean.
  • While tilting your head back, pull down the lower lid of your eye with your index finger to form a pocket.
  • Hold the dropper (tip down) with the other hand, as close to the eye as possible without touching it.
  • Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your face.
  • While looking up, gently squeeze the dropper so that a single drop falls into the pocket made by the lower eyelid. Remove your index finger from the lower eyelid.
  • Close your eye for 2 to 3 minutes and tip your head down as though looking at the floor. Try not to blink or squeeze your eyelids.
  • Place a finger on the tear duct and apply gentle pressure.
  • Wipe any excess liquid from your face with a tissue.
  • If you are to use more than one drop in the same eye, wait at least 5 minutes before instilling the next drop.
  • Replace and tighten the cap on the dropper bottle. Do not wipe or rinse the dropper tip.
  • Wash your hands to remove any medication.

Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?
Before using azelastine eye drops,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to azelastine or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using azelastine, call your doctor.
  • you should know that you should not wear contact lenses if your eye(s) is/are red. If your eye is not red and you wear contact lenses, you should know that azelastine solution contains benzalkonium chloride, which can be absorbed by soft contact lenses. Remove your contact lenses before instilling azelastine and put them back in 10 minutes later.
What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?
Instill the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not instill a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?
Azelastine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
  • eye burning or stinging
  • headaches
  • bitter taste
  • eye pain
  • blurred vision
  • excessive tiredness
  • sore throat

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience the following symptom, call your doctor immediately:
  • difficulty breathing

Azelastine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Selected Revisions: March 16, 2011.







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