Why is this medication prescribed?
Cetirizine ophthalmic is used to relieve the itching of allergic pink eye. Cetirizine is in a class of medications called antihistamines. It works by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms.
How should this medicine be used?
Cetirizine ophthalmic comes a solution (liquid) to instill in the eye. It is usually instilled in the affected eye(s) twice a day, approximately 8 hours apart. To help you remember to use cetirizine ophthalmic, use it around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use cetirizine ophthalmic exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Cetirizine ophthalmic comes in single-use containers and in a multi-dose bottle (a bottle that can be used more than once). If you are using the single-use container, the liquid from one container should be used for one or both eyes immediately after you open the container. Dispose of each single-use container and any remaining solution after one use.
To instill the eye drops, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Check the dropper tip to make sure that it is not chipped or cracked.
- Avoid touching the dropper tip against your eye or anything else; eye drops and droppers must be kept clean.
- While tilting your head back, pull down the lower lid of your eye with your index finger to form a pocket.
- Hold the dropper (tip down) with the other hand, as close to the eye as possible without touching it.
- Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your face.
- While looking up, gently squeeze the dropper so that a single drop falls into the pocket made by the lower eyelid. Remove your index finger from the lower eyelid.
- Close your eye for 2 to 3 minutes and tip your head down as though looking at the floor. Try not to blink or squeeze your eyelids.
- Place a finger on the tear duct and apply gentle pressure.
- Wipe any excess liquid from your face with a tissue.
- If using another eye product, wait at least 5 minutes after using cetirizine eye drops before using the other eye medication.
- Replace and tighten the cap on the dropper bottle. Do not wipe or rinse the dropper tip.
- Discard the single-dose container, out of the reach of children, even if it is not empty. Replace and tighten the cap on the multi-use bottle; do not wipe or rinse the dropper tip.
- Wash your hands to remove any medication.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using cetirizine eye drops,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cetirizine (Zyrtec), levocetirizine (Xyzal), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in cetirizine eye drops. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using cetirizine eye drops, call your doctor.
- you should know that you should not wear contact lenses if your eye(s) is/are red. If your eye is not red and you wear contact lenses, you should know that cetirizine solution contains benzalkonium chloride, which can be absorbed by soft contact lenses. Remove your contact lenses before instilling cetirizine and put them back in 10 minutes later.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Instill the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not instill a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Cetirizine eye drops may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- eye redness
- eye pain
- blurred vision
Cetirizine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.