How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Oxymetazoline belongs to a group of medications called topical decongestants. It is used in eye drops to relieve symptoms of watery and irritated eyes caused by allergic conditions such as hayfever, and other irritations of the eye not caused by infection.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using 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?
Oxymetazoline eye drops are no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada and are no longer available under any brand names. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.
How should I use this medication?
For adults and children 6 years of age and older, the recommended dose of oxymetazoline eye drops is 1 or 2 drops into the eye every 6 hours as needed to a maximum of 4 times a day. The treatment usually continues for 7 to 10 days.
Soft contact lenses should be removed before using this medication.
You should notice improvement in your condition within 3 days and treatment should be continued until the condition is completely cleared up. If irritation persists, or if irritation gets worse or does not improve within three days, contact your doctor.
To avoid contamination of the eye drops, do not allow the dropper tip to touch the eye or any other surface. Always replace the cap on the container after using. Do not share eye drops, as this may spread infection between people. Do not use the solution if it changes colour or becomes cloudy.
Many things can affect the dose of a 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 using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as recommended by your doctor. Do not use higher doses than those recommended by your doctor. If you are using this medication regularly and you miss a dose, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on with your regular schedule. Do not use 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.
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 oxymetazoline eye drops if you:
- are allergic to oxymetazoline or any ingredients of the medication
- have an eye infection
- have untreated angle closure glaucoma
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 uses 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 using 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.
- eyelid problems
- increased irritation of eyes
Although most of these 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:
- fast, irregular or pounding heartbeat
- high blood pressure
- high blood sugar
Stop using the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- symptoms of a severe allergic reaction:
- difficulty breathing
- skin blisters
- sores or pain in the mouth or eyes
- swelling of the mouth or 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.
Eye pain or worsening of condition: Contact your doctor as soon as possible if your condition does not improve within 3 days, if it gets worse, or it you notice eye pain or vision changes.
MAO inhibitors and beta-receptor blocking drugs: If you are taking an MAO inhibitor or a beta-receptor blocking drug, it is very important to discuss this with your doctor before taking this medication.
Medical conditions: 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 if you have any of the following conditions:
- difficulty in urination due to enlarged prostate
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- thyroid disease
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 oxymetazoline 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: This product is not recommended for use by children younger than 6 years of age.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may an interaction between oxymetazoline and any of the following (only if oxymetazoline is absorbed into the bloodstream in significant amounts):
- amphetamines (e.g. dextroamphetamine)
- appetite suppressants (diet pills)
- MAO inhibitors (e.g. phenelzine, linezolid, selegiline)
- tricyclic antidepressants (e.g. nortriptyline, imipramine)
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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