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How do Zerviate eye drops work?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Feb 8, 2023.

Official answer

  • Zerviate (cetirizine) works by blocking the histamine-1 (H1) receptor to help relieve itching of the eye associated with allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is the eye's reaction to allergens like pollen, dander, or mold spores.
  • Blocking H1 receptors decreases the permeability, dilation and fluid escape of veins in the eye. This helps to decrease symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes.

Zerviate (cetirizine ophthalmic solution 0.24%) is a prescription eye drop formulation of cetirizine, an oral allergy medicine also commonly known as the brand Zyrtec.

Allergic conjunctivitis is the eye's reaction to allergy-causing substances like pollen, dander and mold spores. Symptoms usually include redness, tearing, and itching of the eyes and the inner surface of the eyelids.

In clinical studies, significantly less eye itching was seen at 15 minutes and 8 hours after treatment with Zerviate when compared to vehicle (a solution with no active medicine).

The recommended dose for allergic conjunctivitis is one drop into each affected eye twice daily (approximately 8 hours apart). Follow your doctor's dosing instructions exactly.

Learn more: Zerviate side effects (in more detail)

Should I take my contact lenses out before Zerviate?

Yes. Remove your contact lenses before you put Zerviate drops into your eyes. You can put your contact lenses back in your eyes 10 minutes after you use Zerviate.

Benzalkonium chloride is the preservative in Zerviate and it can be absorbed by soft contact lenses. Do not instill Zerviate into your eyes while you are wearing contact lenses.

Zerviate is not for use in treating eye irritation caused by wearing contact lenses. Do not wear contact lenses if your eye is red. If your eye redness does not improve, contact your doctor.

This is not all the information you need to know about Zerviate (cetirizine ophthalmic solution 0.24%) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full Zerviate information here, and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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