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Optivar Side Effects

Generic Name: azelastine ophthalmic

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug azelastine ophthalmic. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Optivar.

For the Consumer

Applies to azelastine ophthalmic: ophthalmic solution

As well as its needed effects, azelastine ophthalmic (the active ingredient contained in Optivar) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

Severity: Major

If any of the following side effects occur while taking azelastine ophthalmic, check with your doctor immediately:

Less common
  • Cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • noisy breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in chest
  • wheezing

Severity: Minor

Some azelastine ophthalmic side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned 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

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to azelastine ophthalmic: ophthalmic solution


Ocular side effects including transient eye burning/stinging (30%) have been reported. Other ocular side effects reported in 1% to 10% of patients were conjunctivitis, eye pain, and temporary blurring of vision.[Ref]


General side effects including headache (15%), and bitter taste (10%) have been reported. Other side effects including fatigue and influenza-like symptoms have been reported in 1% to 10% of the patients.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects including dyspnea, pharyngitis, and rhinitis in 1% to 10% of the patients have been reported.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects including pruritus in 1% to 10% of patients have been reported.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included reports of taste perversion in 10% to 20% of study participants.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Optivar (azelastine ophthalmic)" Muro Pharmaceuticals Inc, Tewksbury, MA.

2. Friedlaender MH, Harris J, LaVallee N, Russell H, Shilstone J "Evaluation of the onset and duration of effect of azelastine eye drops (0.05%) versus placebo in patients with allergic conjunctivitis using an allergen challenge model." Ophthalmology 107 (2000): 2152-7

3. Giede C, Metzenauer P, Petzold U, EllersLenz B "Comparison of azelastine eye drops with levocabastine eye drops in the treatment of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis." Curr Med Res Opin 16 (2000): 153-63

It is possible that some side effects of Optivar may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.