oxymetazoline (Ophthalmic route)
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Visine L.R.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Decongestant
Chemical Class: Imidazoline
Uses For oxymetazoline
Oxymetazoline is used to relieve redness due to minor eye irritations, such as those caused by colds, dust, wind, smog, pollen, swimming, or wearing contact lenses.
Oxymetazoline is available without a prescription.
Before Using oxymetazoline
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 oxymetazoline, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to oxymetazoline 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.
Check with your doctor before using oxymetazoline eye drops in children up to 6 years of age. Eye redness in children can occur with illnesses, such as allergies, fevers, colds, and measles, that may require medical attention.
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 or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of oxymetazoline in the elderly with use in other age groups.
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. 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 oxymetazoline. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Eye disease, infection, or injury—oxymetazoline may mask the symptoms of these conditions
- Heart or blood vessel disease or
- High blood pressure or
- Overactive thyroid—If absorbed into the body, oxymetazoline may cause side effects that may make the medical problem worse
- Use of soft contact lenses—Because of the preservative in oxymetazoline, some eye conditions may get worse if oxymetazoline is used on top of soft contact lenses
Proper Use of oxymetazoline
Do not use oxymetazoline ophthalmic solution if it becomes cloudy or changes color.
- First, wash your hands. With the middle finger, apply pressure to the inside corner of the eye (and continue to apply pressure for 1 or 2 minutes after the medicine has been placed in the eye). Tilt the head back and with the index finger of the same hand, pull the lower eyelid away from the eye to form a pouch. Drop the medicine into the pouch and gently close the eyes. Do not blink. Keep the eyes closed for 1 or 2 minutes to allow the medicine to be absorbed.
- 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.
Use oxymetazoline only as directed. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for more than 72 hours, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. To do so may make your eye irritation worse and may also increase the chance of side effects.
The dose of oxymetazoline 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 oxymetazoline. 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 solution (eye drops) dosage form:
- For eye redness:
- Adults and children 6 years of age and older—Use 1 drop in the eye every six hours.
- Children up to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For eye redness:
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.
Precautions While Using oxymetazoline
If eye pain or change in vision occurs or if redness or irritation of the eye continues, gets worse, or lasts for more than 72 hours, stop using the medicine and check with your doctor.
oxymetazoline 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.
When oxymetazoline is used for short periods of time at low doses, side effects usually are rare.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:With overuse or long-term use
- Increase in irritation or redness of eyes
- Fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
- headache or lightheadedness
- trouble in sleeping
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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