Ketotifen (Ophthalmic)

Overview

When patients suffer from allergic conjunctivitis, inflammation of the eye occurs in response to particular allergens. Whilst some patients will develop symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis if they are exposed to pollen, other patients may respond to mold spores, dander or even animal fur.

The conjunctiva is a protective membrane and is found on the outside of the eye and inside the eyelids. When the patient is exposed to an allergen, their body perceives it to be harmful and produces an allergic reaction. As a result, white blood cells, known as mast cells, release histamine which causes the patient's to develop symptoms. This histamine response often causes redness, itching and swelling of the eye, as well as excessive tearing.

For many people, allergic conjunctivitis occurs seasonally and is an acute illness. Often caused by hay fever, patients with this type of allergic conjunctivitis may only experience symptoms during specific periods throughout the year. If patients have chronic allergic conjunctivitis, however, they may exhibit symptoms consistently and often produce a histamine reaction to year-round allergens, such as dust or mold.

As a mast cell stabilizer, Ketotifen can inhibit the histamine response and reduce or prevent the patient's symptoms from occurring. By preventing the patient's mast cells from releasing histamine, Ketotifen stops the body over-reacting to a perceived allergen and, therefore, prevents the eyes from swelling, itching, tearing and/or becoming inflamed.

Generally, Ketotifen eye solution is well-tolerated by the vast majority of patients and is effective in treating allergic conjunctivitis caused by various types of allergens. As well as providing effective relief from symptoms, Ketotifen solution is fast-acting. Once the solution has been administered, it normally takes effect immediately and patients may notice a reduction in their symptoms within minutes.

Conditions Treated

  • Allergic conjunctivitis

Type Of Medicine

  • Mast cell stabilizer
  • Anti-histamine

Side Effects

When patients use any type of medication, they can experience adverse effects. Whilst this doesn't necessarily prevent the medication from working, some side-effects do require medical attention. Often, side-effects are most pronounced when patient's first start using a new medication but decrease over time.

For example, patients may experience the following side-effects when they first start using Ketotifen eye solution:

  • Stinging or burning of the eyes
  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Eyelid disorder
  • Tiredness, fever, achiness and sore throat
  • Eye sensitivity to light
  • Sore throat
  • Increase in size of the pupils
  • Tearing.

If the above side-effects are fairly mild and are not troubling the patient, they may not require medical attention. However, if the side-effects persist or are severe, patients should obtain medical advice.

Similarly, patients will need to obtain medical treatment or assistance if they develop the following side-effects whilst using Ketotifen eye solution:

  • Eye discharge
  • Rash on the skin or around the eyes
  • Eye discomfort
  • Increased itching of the eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Hives
  • Eye swelling or redness

Furthermore, patients should seek medical advice if they experience any other side-effects when using Ketotifen eye solution, even if they are not listed above.

Dosage

When patients are suffering from allergic conjunctivitis and are prescribed Ketotifen eye solution, they are usually advised to administer one drop into each affected eye, every eight to twelve hours.

Although this is a standard dosing regime for treatment with Ketotifen eye solution, patients should always follow their doctor's instructions when using this medication. If patients are advised to use a higher dose or administer the medication more often, they should do so. Similarly, if patients are instructed to use less Ketotifen solution or use the medication less frequently, they should adhere to their doctor's instructions.

In order for Ketotifen eye solution to be effective, patients will need to administer it correctly. Before doing so, patients should was their hands thoroughly to ensure they do not introduce any bacteria into the eye. Following this, patients should press gently on their lower eyelid. This will create a space between the eyelid and the eye and enable the patient to administer the appropriate of medication into this area.

After dropping the solution into this space, patients should close their eye and keep it shut for approximately one to two minutes. This allows the solution to be absorbed by the eye and increases its effectiveness.

Although patients should not overuse Ketotifen eye solution, if their first attempt to administer the medication did not work, they should apply another dose of medication to the affected eye.

Once the dose has been applied, patients should place the cap firmly on the dispenser, store it somewhere suitable and wash their hands. When using Ketotifen eye solution, patients should not let the applicator come into contact with any other substances, including the surface of the eye itself. This ensures that the applicator is kept germ-free and that the patient doesn't develop any further conditions or experience additional irritation of the eye.

If patients are exhibiting symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, they are usually advised not to wear contact lenses. If the patient's eyes are irritated and/or red, for example, they should not use contact lenses. However, if their symptoms are under control and patients are wearing contact lenses, they will need to remove them before administering Ketotifen eye solution. In addition to this, patients should wait at least ten minutes after applying the solution before replacing their contact lenses.

When patients are using Ketotifen eye solution, they should adhere to the treatment schedule set out by their physician. However, if patients forget to administer a dose of Ketotifen, they should do so as soon as they remember to. If their next dose is due soon, patients will need to skip the missed dose and continue with their normal treatment regime. Patients should not attempt to administer an extra or double dose of Ketotifen eye solution, even if a previous dose has been missed.

If patients are unsure how to use Ketotifen eye solution or when to administer it, they should seek advice from their physician or pharmacist.

Potential Drug Interactions

Before patient's use Ketotifen eye solution, they should tell their physician if they are taking any other medicines, supplements or vitamins. As some drugs can interact with each other, it may not be appropriate for patient's to use Ketotifen if they are taking certain other substances.

Similarly, patients should obtain medical advice before they start using any new medications, supplements or vitamins once they have started using Ketotifen eye solution.

Warnings

If patients have any existing health problems, they should notify their doctor before Ketotifen eye solution is prescribed. There are some conditions which may affect the patient's use of Ketotifen so it's essential that they discuss any health issues with their physician before they start using this medication.

Although Ketotifen eye solution can be used to treat children, it has not been specifically tested on infants under the age of three years. Due to this, Ketotifen is not normally prescribed to pediatric patients who are below this age.

When patient's use Ketotifen, they normally notice a reduction in their symptoms fairly quickly. However, if their condition worsens or if their symptoms persist, patients should contact their doctor for further advice.

As a class C medicine in relation to pregnancy, Ketotifen eye solution is not normally prescribed to patients who are pregnant. As the medication could cause harm to an unborn fetus, Ketotifen should only be prescribed to pregnant patients if the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.

It is not known whether Ketotifen eye solution can be excreted in breast milk and, if so, whether it poses any risk to an infant if transferred in this way. Due to this, patients may be advised not to breastfeed whilst using this medication and should obtain medical advice before doing so.

If patients have ever exhibited a serious allergic reaction to any substances, they should notify their physician before they start using Ketotifen eye solution. If the patient has a serious allergic reaction whilst using this medication, they will require emergency medical treatment. The symptoms of a serious allergic reaction can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Itching
  • Hoarseness
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the lips, throat, tongue, mouth, face or hands
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash on the skin

Storage

When keeping Ketotifen eye solution at home, patients should follow the manufacturer's storage instructions. Patients should also use an appropriate location to secure the medicine and should ensure that children and/or pets cannot gain access to it.

Usually, Ketotifen eye solution can be kept at room temperature but the medication should be protected from moisture, heat and light.

If the medicine reaches its expiry date or if patients are advised to stop using it, they should contact their physician's office or pharmacist and use a specialist medicine disposal service.

Summary

Allergic conjunctivitis can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms and it may be difficulty for patients to continue with their day-to-day activities when the condition is at its worst. As it is not always viable to reduce the patient's exposure to the relevant allergic, Ketotifen eye solution can be used to control their symptoms.

When applied, Ketotifen eye solution helps to reduce the itching associated with allergic conjunctivitis and ensures that the patient's histamine response is inhibited, even when they are exposed to allergens.