Alcaftadine (Ophthalmic)

Alcaftadine works to reduce itchiness in the eyes by suppressing the effect of histamine, which causes allergies and itching.

Overview:

Alcaftadine is an eye drop prescription medicine that's used to prevent itchiness in the eyes caused by a condition known as allergic conjunctivitis. Alcaftadine is in a class of drugs known as antihistamines. These drugs work to ease eye itchiness by checking histamine effects, which bring about itching and allergies.

This medicine is available in eye drop form and is normally administered once a day.

Common Alcaftadine side effects include burning or stinging after use, eye redness, and eye irritation.

Alcaftadine may also bring about blurred vision. Don't use heavy machinery or drive until you understand how the drug affects you.

Condition treated:

  • Allergic conjunctivitis

Type of Medicine:

  • Antihistamine

Side effects:

Mild and temporary stinging/burning of the eyes can occur when you use Alcaftadine. If this effect worsens or persists, let your pharmacist or doctor know as soon as possible.

Remember that your healthcare provider has prescribed this drug because he/she has concluded that its benefits far outweigh the risks of its side effects. Many patients using this medicine don't experience serious side effects.

Check with your physician/healthcare provider as soon as you experience any of these side effects:

  • Itching of the eyes
  • Sore, red eyes
  • Stinging/burning sensation in the eye

Some side effects that occur may not require medical intervention. Such side effects may vanish during treatment as the body gets used to the drug. In addition, your healthcare provider can give you advice on how to reduce or prevent some of the side effects. Consult your healthcare provider should any of these side effects persist or are troubling or you have questions about them.

Less common:

  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • General feeling of illness or discomfort
  • Muscle pains and aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Shivering
  • Sweating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vomiting
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness

Other Alcaftadine side effects not mentioned occur in some people. If you experience any other side effects not listed above, check with your healthcare provider.

Seek medical advice from your doctor about side effects. Also tell the FDA about the side effects at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dosage:

All possible drug forms and dosages may not be covered here. Your drug form, dosage, and how many times you take Alcaftadine will depend on the following:

  • The severity of your condition
  • Your age
  • Other medical disorders you have
  • The disorder being treated
  • How you respond to the initial dose

Use Alcaftadine exactly as your healthcare provider prescribed. Don't use smaller or larger quantities of the medicine for longer than prescribed. Follow the instructions outlined on the prescription label.

Apply a drop of the medication in each eye once every day. If you're using more than one tropical ophthalmic medication, administer each one at least five minutes apart.

Adults should apply one drop per day in each eye. The elderly should do the same thing, as should adolescents. Children at least 2 years old should also apply one drop a day in each eye. As for children under 2, the safety and efficacy of the drug hasn't been determined. The same is true for infants and newborns.

When you remember you missed a dose, take it immediately. If the next dose is just moments away, don't take the missed dose. Don't take extra medication to make up for the missed dose.

If you take excess Alcaftadine, call your local poison control body or doctor or seek emergency treatment right away.

Interactions:

The manufacturer hasn't reported any Alcaftadine drug interactions. However, you should inform your healthcare provider about all the medicines you're taking, including non-prescription and prescription medicines, herbal supplements, and vitamins. Not all Alcaftadine interactions are reported or known and new interactions are constantly being reported.

Although certain medications shouldn't be taken together at all, sometimes two different drugs can be taken together no matter if there's a possibility of interaction. In such cases, your healthcare provider may decide to alter your dose, or recommend other precautions.

Certain drugs shouldn't be taken around meal times or when eating some foods, as interactions might occur. In some cases, these interactions could be harmful and you may be advised to avoid some foods. When it comes to Alcaftadine, so far there aren't specific foods you must avoid when taking this medication. Interactions may also occur when you take certain medications with alcohol or cigarettes. Talk with your healthcare provider about the use of Alcaftadine with food, cigarettes, or alcohol.

However, there's a possibility that there are unknown Alcaftadine interactions currently that may be discovered in the future. Thus, it's always wise to include Alcaftadine in your medications list when trying to find out interactions. In addition, be sure to consult your doctor about any potential interactions that could apply to your specific situation.

Warnings:

Before you apply Alcaftadine, tell your pharmacist/doctor if you're allergic to the drug, or you have other allergies. Alcaftadine may have inactive ingredients, which might cause allergies or other issues. Get more information from your pharmacist.

Before using Alcaftadine, give your pharmacist or doctor your medical history, particularly about contact lens use.

If your eye is red, don't put on a contact lens. Also don't use the medication to treat eye irritation related to contact lens use.

Don't use Alcaftadine with your contact lenses on. Remove the contact lenses before you administer the medicine. Alcaftadine contains a preservative known as benzalkonium chloride that soft contact lenses may absorb. You can reinsert the lenses 10 minutes after administering Alcaftadine.

Alcaftadine should only be used as a topical ophthalmic.

To minimize contamination of the solution and dropper tip, take care to not touch the eyelids and the areas around the eyelids with the tip of the dropper. Keep the medicine's bottle tightly sealed when not using it.

Serious eye damage and subsequent blindness can result from applying contaminated Alcaftadine. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms of eye infection: sore throat, eye pain, fever or chills, and abnormal discharge from the eyes.

After you apply Alcaftadine, your vision can become unclear temporarily. Don't operate any machines, drive, or do anything that requires clear sight until you're able to do those activities safely.

Before undergoing eye surgery, tell your healthcare provider about all the drugs you're using (such as non-prescription drugs, prescription drugs, and herbal products).

If you get an eye injury or develop an infection, or need surgery, talk to your doctor to see if you can continue taking your current Alcaftadine prescription or get a new one.

Reproduction studies done on rabbits and rats didn't find any evidence of weakened female production or damage to the fetus as a result of Alcaftadine use. Oral doses in rabbits and rats of 80 and 20 mg per kg a day, respectively, created plasma exposure levels around 9000 and 2000 times that of a recommended human dose.

However, there are no well-controlled and enough studies on pregnant women. Since animal reproductive research doesn't always predict human response, Alcaftadine should only be used during pregnancy if clearly needed.

For nursing mothers, it's unclear whether Alcaftadine is excreted in breast milk. Since many medications are excreted in breast milk, care should be taken when administering Alcaftadine to a nursing mother.

Take into account the breastfeeding benefits, the risk of possible drug exposure to the infant, as well as the risk of an inadequately treated or untreated condition. If a breastfeeding baby suffers a side effect related to Alcaftadine intake by the mother, the doctor should report this to the FDA.

The safety and effectiveness of Alcaftadine on patients under 2 years old hasn't been established. And there are no major differences in the safety and effectiveness of the drug when observed between younger and elderly patients.

Storage:

Keep Alcaftadine in its original container, tightly sealed, and away from kids. Store it away from excess moisture and heat and at room temperature.

Unneeded medications should be discarded properly to ensure that kids, pets, and anyone else cannot ingest them. However, don't flush the drug down the toilet. Rather, the best method to dispose of the unused medication is through a drug take-back program. Get in touch with your local recycling/garbage department or pharmacist for more information about medicine take-back plans in your area. If you don't have access to any take-back program, check out the FDA's website on safe medicine disposal at http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p.

It's important to ensure all medicines are out of the reach and sight of children because many containers (like those for creams, eye drops, inhalers, patches, and weekly pills) aren't child-proof and young kids can easily open them up. To protect children from poisoning, always make sure to lock the safety caps and put the medicine in a safe place immediately - one that's out of their reach and sight.

Don't freeze the medicine.

If you're still unsure, ask your healthcare provider how to properly get rid of any medication you're not using.

Summary:

Alcaftadine is a drug that minimizes the impact of histamine, a natural chemical produced in the body. Histamine can bring on symptoms like water or itchy eyes.

Apart from preventing itching of the eyes due to allergies, Alcaftadine can also be used for other purposes not covered in this article.

To ensure you're safely using this medication, let your doctor know about any disorders that afflict your eyes.

Don't use this medication if the solution contains particles in it or has changed color. Ask your doctor to give you a new prescription.

Stop using Alcaftadine and get in touch with your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as severe stinging, burning, or other form of irritation after applying the eye drops.

If you're allergic to this medication, don't use it. Remember to always wash your hands before applying eye medication.

Alcaftadine usually does not harm an unborn child, but let your healthcare provider know if you plan to get pregnant during treatment or if you're already pregnant.

Alcaftadine is marketed under the common brand name Lastacaft. It's topically administered to the eyes only. It should be administered only once per day.

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Last Reviewed:
December 10, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018