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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Optivar

Generic Name: azelastine ophthalmic (Pronunciation: a ZEL as teen)

What is azelastine ophthalmic (Optivar)?

Azelastine is an antihistamine that reduces the natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of itching or watery eyes.

Azelastine ophthalmic (for the eyes) is used to treat itchy eyes caused by allergies (hay fever).

Azelastine ophthalmic may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of azelastine ophthalmic (Optivar)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • severe burning, stinging, itching, or eye redness after using this medication;
  • eye pain;
  • trouble breathing; or
  • fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild burning or stinging
  • mild itching, irritation or discomfort;
  • runny nose;
  • blurred vision (temporary);
  • headache; or
  • a bitter taste in your mouth.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about azelastine ophthalmic (Optivar)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to azelastine.

Do not allow the dropper tip to touch any surface, including the eyes or hands. If the dropper becomes contaminated it could cause an infection in your eye, which can lead to vision loss or serious damage to the eye.

Do not use this medication while wearing contact lenses. Azelastine ophthalmic may contain a preservative that can discolor soft contact lenses. Wait at least 15 minutes after using azelastine before putting your contact lenses in.

Do not wear contact lenses while your eyes are red or irritated. Azelastine ophthalmic should not be used to treat minor contact lens irritation.

Stop using azelastine ophthalmic and call your doctor if you have severe eye pain, trouble breathing, or severe burning, stinging, itching, or redness in your eyes.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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