anesthetic, local

Class Name: anesthetic, local (Ophthalmic route)

Commonly used brand name(s):

In the U.S.

  • Akten
  • Alcaine
  • Altacaine
  • Ocu-Caine
  • Ophthetic
  • Parcaine
  • Tetcaine
  • TetraVisc

In Canada

  • Ak-Taine
  • Ophthaine
  • Pontocaine

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Ointment
  • Solution
  • Gel/Jelly

Uses For This Medicine

Proparacaine and tetracaine are local anesthetics that are used in the eye to cause numbness or loss of feeling. They are used before certain procedures such as measuring of eye pressure, removing foreign objects or sutures (stitches) from the eye, and performing certain eye examinations.

Before Using This Medicine

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to medicines in this group or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Although there is no specific information comparing use of ophthalmic anesthetics in children with use in other age groups, these medicines are not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than they do in adults.

Geriatric

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of ophthalmic anesthetics in the elderly with use in other age groups, these medicines are not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than they do in younger adults.

Pregnancy

Although studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals, proparacaine and tetracaine have not been reported to cause birth defects or other problems in humans.

Breast Feeding

It is not known whether proparacaine or tetracaine passes into breast milk. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who receive this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.

Interactions with 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 healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of medicines in this class. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergies—The risk of unwanted effects may be increased.

Proper Use of This Medicine

Dosing

The dose medicines in this class 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 these medicines. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For proparacaine or tetracaine:
    • For causing loss of feeling in the eye:
      • For ophthalmic drops dosage form (eye drops):
        • Adults and teenagers—For most procedures, one or two drops will be all that is needed. However, for some other procedures, several applications of the medicine may be needed, usually five or ten minutes apart.
        • Children—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
  • For tetracaine:
    • For causing loss of feeling in the eye:
      • For ophthalmic ointment dosage form (eye ointment):
        • Adults and teenagers—Your health care professional will apply a small amount of the ointment to the lower eyelid.
        • Children—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

After a local anesthetic is applied to the eye, do not rub or wipe the eye until the anesthetic has worn off and feeling in the eye returns. To do so may cause injury or damage to the eye. The effects of these medicines usually last for about 20 minutes. However, if more than one dose is applied, the effects may last longer.

If you get one of these medicines on your fingers, it may cause a rash with dryness and cracking of the skin. If you touch your eye after this medicine has been applied, wash your hands as soon as possible.

Side Effects of This Medicine

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:

Symptoms of too much medicine being absorbed into the bodyVery rare
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • increased sweating
  • irregular heartbeat
  • muscle twitching or trembling
  • nausea or vomiting
  • shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  • unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. Mild stinging or eye irritation may occur as soon as tetracaine is applied or up to several hours after proparacaine is applied. Although these side effects usually are not serious, check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects are severe, because you may be having an allergic reaction to the medicine.

Some 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. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common
  • Burning, stinging, redness, or other irritation of eye
Rare
  • Itching, pain, redness, or swelling of the eye or eyelid
  • watering of eyes

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

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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