How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Difluprednate belongs to the class of medications called corticosteroids. It is used to reduce the inflammation and pain caused by cataract surgery. It may also be used a condition called endogenous anterior uveitis. This is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye which includes the coloured part of your eye, the iris.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each mL of sterile, isotonic, aqueous topical ophthalmic emulsion contains difluprednate 0.5 mg (0.05%). Nonmedicinal ingredients: boric acid, castor oil, glycerin, sodium acetate, sodium EDTA, sodium hydroxide (to adjust the pH), polysorbate 80, water for injection, and sorbic acid 0.1% as a preservative.
How should I use this medication?
The usual dose of eye drops after cataract surgery is 1 drop into the affected eye, 4 times a day. The drops should be started 24 hours after surgery and used for 2 weeks.
To treat endogenous anterior uveitis, instill 1 drop into the affected eye 4 times a day for 14 days.
After 14 days, your doctor will explain how to stop the medication gradually. It is important that you do not stop using the drops suddenly, as this may cause additional irritation and swelling.
To use eye drops properly:
- Wash your hands before using the eye drops.
- Shake the container well before use to ensure the medication is evenly mixed throughout the bottle.
- Remove the cap and place it in a clean location. To avoid possible contamination, keep the tip of the container away from contact with any surface.
- Tilt your head back and look towards the ceiling.
- With your index finger, gently pull your lower eyelid down and away from your eye to form a pouch.
- Apply one drop into the pouch but do not allow the tip of the container to touch your eye or areas around your eye.
- Gently apply pressure to the inner corner of your eye (at the bridge of the nose) for about 30 seconds. (This is called nasolacrimal occlusion.) This prevents the medication from dripping down through the tear duct and entering the bloodstream, which could cause you to experience some side effects.
- Repeat with your other eye, if prescribed by your physician.
- Wash your hands again to remove any medication.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you the correct method of applying the eye drops. It is very important to avoid touching the dropper tip to any surface, skin, or your eye. This contamination can result in a bacterial infection. Report any signs of an eye infection (e.g., redness, irritation, pain) to your doctor immediately.
If you are using more than one topical eye medication (eye drops or ointment), wait at least 5 minutes after applying the eye drops before putting another medication in your eye.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children. Safely discard any medication remaining in the dropper bottle when your treatment is complete. If there is any medication remaining 28 days after opening the bottle, discard it.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use difluprednate if you:
- are allergic to difluprednate or any ingredients of the medication
- are allergic to other corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone, prednisone)
- have or may have an eye infection such as acute herpes simplex, tuberculosis of the eye, vaccinia, chickenpox, or other viral or fungal diseases of the eye
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- bloodshot eyes
- blurred vision
- dry eye
- eye itching
- sensitivity to light
- slowed healing
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- eye pain
- flashes of light in vision
- floaters (spots in your vision)
- increased eye pressure
- increased heart rate
- sensation of something in your eye
- severe headache
- signs of eye infection (e.g., eye swelling, weeping, drainage, crusting)
- sudden vision loss
- tunnel vision
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Cataracts: Using corticosteroids in the eye over a long period of time may cause cataracts to form and may cause healing after cataract surgery to take longer than it would otherwise. If you have cataracts, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Contact lenses: Using contact lenses with corticosteroid eye drops increases the risk of infection. You should avoid wearing contact lenses while using corticosteroid eye drops. Difluprednate can also cause discolouration of soft contact lenses. If you do need to wear contact lenses, wait at least 10 minutes after using this medication before putting your contact lenses in.
Delayed healing: The use of medications such as difluprednate may cause delayed healing after eye surgery and may increase the occurrence of bleb (blister) formation on the eye. After 14 days of treatment your doctor should reassess the need for continued use of this medication.
Glaucoma: The use of corticosteroids in the eyes may cause an increase in the pressure in the eye. If you have glaucoma, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Infection: Corticosteroids such as difluprednate reduce symptoms of inflammation by reducing the effect of the immune system. As a result, the use of this medication may hide the signs of new infections or worsening of existing infections. If you notice any new eye symptoms such as pain, redness, sensitivity to sunlight, or vision changes, contact your doctor immediately. If the condition you are treating does not seem to improve in several days, contact your doctor.
Vision changes: Difluprednate may cause blurred vision or discomfort in bright light, affecting your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid these and other hazardous tasks until your vision has cleared.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if difluprednate passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 28 days old. For children aged 28 days to 3 years, difluprednate may be used to treat inflammation and pain after cataract surgery.
The safety and effectiveness of using this medication to treat endogenous anterior uveitis have not been established for children. Difluprednate is not recommended to treat this condition in children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between difluprednate and any of the following:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops (e.g., diclofenac, flurbiprofen, ketorolac)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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