Generic name: tetracaine [ TE-tra-kane ]
Drug class: Ophthalmic anesthetics
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 22, 2023.
Uses for tetracaine
Tetracaine eye drops are used to numb the eye before surgery, certain tests, or procedures. The eye drops are used to prevent pain during the procedure.
Tetracaine belongs to the group of medicines called local anesthetics. It works by blocking the pain signals at the nerve endings in the eye.
This medicine is to be administered only by or under the direct supervision of an eye doctor.
Before using tetracaine
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:
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.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of tetracaine eye drops in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of tetracaine eye drops in geriatric patients.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during 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 receiving 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 is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- St John's Wort
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 this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Heart disease—May cause side effects to become worse.
Proper use of tetracaine
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. The eye drops are placed directly in the eye.
Precautions while using tetracaine
Your doctor will check your progress closely while you are receiving this medicine. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it.
It is very important to protect your eye from injury while it is still numb. Do not touch or rub the eye. Do not use additional eye drops in the eye until your doctor tells you to. Protect your eye from dust particles, sand, or anything that might cause irritation.
Side Effects of tetracaine
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 or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- redness of the clear part of the eye
- sensitivity to light
- severe stinging in the eye
- throbbing eye pain
Incidence not known
- Bloody eye
- burning, stinging, itching, redness, or irritation of the eye
- change in vision
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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