Naphazoline (Ophthalmic)

Overview

Otherwise known under the US brand names Naphcon, AK-Con, Vasoclear, Allersol, Ocu-Zoline, Albalon, and Clear Eyes, Naphazoline is typically used to treat eye irritation caused by pollution, wind, dust, pollen, colds, wearing contact lenses, or swimming. Available in various formulations as either a solution or gel / jelly, it is applied directly to the eye. Some formulations, depending on strength, are only available on prescription from a qualified physician.

Patients who are prescribed Naphazoline should always follow their physician's instructions and the directions on the label. They should also be aware of any changes in their vision that may affect their ability to perform certain tasks that require clear vision.

Conditions Treated

  • Minor eye irritation from the weather, colds, allergies, wearing contact lenses, and swimming.

Type Of Medicine

  • Decongestant

Side Effects

All medicines carry the risk of causing unwanted side effects alongside their desired functions. Not all of the following side effects may appear, but if they do they may require medical attention.

Patients who notice any of the following serious side effects should contact their physician immediately:

Other side effects may appear that do not typically require medical attention. These side effects may retreat as the body adapts to the effects of Naphazoline over the course of treatment. Patients who are concerned about their side effects should ask their physician or pharmacist for advice on ways to prevent or reduce them.

  • Enlarged pupils

Some patients may also experience side effects that are not listed in this guide. Patients who notice other side effects should contact their healthcare professional to find out more. New side effects can also be reported to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dosage

Different patients will require different doses of Naphazoline, depending on their medical history, other medicines, and severity of their condition. Patients should always follow their physician's directions or the instructions on the label. The following information represents typical dosages for ophthalmic Naphazoline. Patients who do not find their dosage in the following information should check with their physician before making any changes.

The amount of Naphazoline prescribed will also depend on the strength and type of formulation used. The time allowed between doses, the number of doses per day, and the total length of treatment will depend on the specific medical problem for which Naphazoline is being used to treat.

When treating eye redness and general irritation, a typical dose of Naphazoline ophthalmic solution (or eye drops) is one drop per eye, no more than one dose every four hours. Ophthalmic Naphazoline is not recommended for use in children under the age of 18.

Naphazoline is for the eyes only. Patients should wash their hands before use, and never use if the solution has changed color, is leaking, has turned cloudy, or has visible floating particles. Patients should always remove their contact lenses before using Naphazoline, and ask their physician about when to replace their contact lenses after using the drops. Contact lenses should not be reinserted if the eyes are still irritated, or an eye infection develops.

The tip of the container should never actually touch the surface of the eyes, the eyelids, or other areas of skin. Patients should simply tilt their head back, keep their eye wide open, and dispense one drop of Naphazoline into each affected eye. After dispensing into the eye, they should close their eyes and put pressure on the inner corner of the eye using their fingertips for one to two minutes. This will help the Naphazoline drops to stay in the eye. Patients should quickly replace the cap on their container and store out of reach of children.

Major drug interactions:

Some medicines should never be used at the same time, as they can cause serious interactions which may have an adverse effect on the patient. Other medicines are not recommended for use together, but may still be prescribed, even if there is a chance of interaction. Where this is the case, a physician will usually make adjustments to the dose, timings or frequency of one or more of the patient's medicines. Patients who are taking Naphazoline should fully inform their physician about any other medicines they are taking, including prescription and over the counter medications, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies. Patients should particularly highlight if they are taking any of the following medicines. The following list of medicines constitutes those most significant, and it should not be read as all-inclusive.

  • Fentanyl Citrate

Some medicines should not be used around the time of eating, or with certain types of foods, since this may cause interactions to occur. Using tobacco or alcohol products may also trigger interactions with specific medications. Patients who are concerned about food, drink and lifestyle factors should seek advice from their physician or healthcare professional before beginning treatment with Naphazoline.

Patients who also have other medical issues may experience problems while taking Naphazoline. Patients should tell their physician about all their medical problems, particularly:

  • Heart disease

Warnings

When deciding whether to take any medicine, a physician and their patient should together weigh up the benefits against the risks. There are a number of factors that should be considered.

Patients should tell their physician if they have ever experienced an allergic reaction to Naphazoline or any another medications. They should also tell their physician about other allergies to foods, preservatives, dyes, and animals. Patients are reminded to always carefully read the label on over the counter products and packet ingredients.

Ophthalmic Naphazoline is not recommended for use with children and infants (known as pediatric care). Children have been found to be particularly sensitive to the effects of Naphazoline.

Many medications have not been tested specifically for use with older patients (known as geriatric care). It may therefore be hard to ascertain the effects on older patients compared to younger adults, or whether additional side effects should be expected. No appropriate studies have found a link between Naphazoline and negative effects with older age.

Similarly, Naphazoline has been given a pregnancy category C, indicating that animal studies have demonstrated an adverse effect and there have been no human studies in pregnant women, or no animal or human studies have been conducted into the effects on pregnancy.

There have also been no adequate studies in female patients to determine the risk to infants from Naphazoline. A physician should carefully weigh the potential risks against the potential benefits of using Naphazoline before prescribing to patients who are breastfeeding.

Patients who notice an increase in irritation, redness and eye pain, or a change in their vision which is getting progressively worse, or lasts more than 72 hours, should stop using Naphazoline and seek medical advice from their physician.

Storage

Like most medicines, Naphazoline drops or gels should be stored firmly closed in their original packaging at room temperature, and away from moisture, direct sunlight and heat. Do not allow Naphazoline to freeze.

Always keep medicines out of the reach of pets, children and vulnerable adults, and replace immediately after using. Do not flush this medication down the toilet or throw it away with general waste.

Patients should never keep old medicines that are out of date or no longer needed. Patients who have leftover medications should ask their pharmacist or physician for details of local take-back programs.

Summary

Ophthalmic Naphazoline is a topical decongestant which is applied in solution (as eye drops) or as a gel or jelly to the eyes. It works to reduce puffiness, inflammation, redness, itching and watering from allergies, colds, pollution, wearing contact lenses, and swimming. It belongs to a group of medicines known as sympathomimetics (alpha receptor agonists) that work to reduce congestion in the eyes.

The strength of Naphazoline depends on the specific brand and formulation. Some brands of Naphazoline eye drops also contain other medicines, such as lubricants (including hypromellose, polyethylene glycol 300, and glycerin) to further protect the eyes from irritation. Another common combination includes zine sulfate (an astringent) to further reduce irritation and redness.

Patients who are using Naphazoline should tell all their healthcare professionals that they are taking it, including dentists, nurses and pharmacists. Patients should always take care when doing anything that requires clear vision, such as driving or operating machinery. If patients notice any blurring of vision, they should stop what they are doing safely and seek advice from their physician.

Naphazoline can be harmful if swallowed. If a patient swallows Naphazoline, they should seek medical assistance as soon as possible or call a poison center immediately.

Patients who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should talk through the benefits and risks with their physician before accepting a prescription for Naphazoline.

Patients who are breastfeeding should inform their physician and have a conversation about any risks to their baby with a physician before accepting a prescription for Naphazoline.

Patients should always follow the full instructions given by their physician and the directions on the label. Patients should also always read the patient information leaflets included with their medication.