Prevent an allergic reaction from happening at school.

Optivar

Generic Name: azelastine (Ophthalmic route)

ay-ze-LAS-teen

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Optivar

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Solution

Therapeutic Class: Ophthalmologic Agent

Pharmacologic Class: Antihistamine

Uses For Optivar

Azelastine 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.

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This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using Optivar

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

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine 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

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.

Geriatric

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.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

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. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Cimetidine

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.

Proper Use of Optivar

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.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine 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 this medicine. 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 ophthalmic dosage form (eye drops):
    • 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, take 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.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Keep bottle in an upright position.

Precautions While Using Optivar

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

Optivar 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

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:

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 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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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