How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Loteprednol eye ointment belongs to the class of medications called corticosteroids. It is used to treat eye inflammation after cataract surgery and works by reducing inflammation in the eye.

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 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 use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each g of sterile, ophthalmic ointment contains loteprednol etabonate 0.5% (5 mg).  Nonmedicinal ingredients: mineral oil, white petrolatum.

How should I use this medication?

The usual dose of loteprednol eye ointment is a ½ inch long ribbon, applied into the conjunctival sac (the inner surface of the eyelid) of the operated eye(s) 4 times daily, starting 24 hours after surgery and continuing for 2 weeks after surgery. This medication should start to work right away. If there is no improvement within 2 days, contact your doctor.

Before using this eye ointment, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Do not allow the tip of the ointment tube to touch any surface, including your eyes or fingers. If you are using other medications in the eye, wait at least 15 minutes before applying them.

Do not wear contact lenses while you are using loteprednol eye ointment.

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 prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not instill 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 and keep it out of the reach of children. It can be stored for up to 14 days after opening, after which time it should be discarded.

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 this medication if you:

  • are allergic to loteprednol or any ingredients of this medication
  • are allergic to other corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone)
  • have or may have a bacterial, fungal, or viral eye infection (e.g., herpes simples, varicella)

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.

  • eye swelling or discharge
  • feeling like there is something in the eye
  • headache
  • increased pressure within the eye
  • itching of the eye or eyelid
  • painful, dry, or sticky eyes
  • redness of the eye or eyelid
  • runny nose
  • sensitivity of eyes to sunlight
  • tearing
  • temporary vision changes (e.g., blurred vision)

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • loss of vision
  • persistent vision problems
  • rash
  • swelling of the face
  • symptoms of an eye infection (eye redness, discharge, swelling)
  • worsening eye redness or itching

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.

Blurred vision: This medication may cause your vision to blur temporarily. Do not drive or operate machinery until your vision is clear. If you experience persistent vision changes, contact your doctor.

Contact lenses: Do not wear contact lenses while you are using loteprednol ointment.

Delayed wound healing: The use of corticosteroids such as loteprednol eye ointment may delay wound healing. Your doctor will check your eye(s) to ensure proper healing after surgery.

Eye infections: This medication can increase the chances of getting an eye infection and should not be used if you have an eye infection (see "Who should not use this medication?"). If you develop an eye infection, or new or worsening symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Glaucoma or increased pressure within the eye: If you have glaucoma or increased pressure within the eye, 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.

Length of treatment: This medication is used for short-term treatment, usually for no longer than 2 weeks. Prolonged use of this medication may cause cataracts or glaucoma. If this medication is used for 10 days or longer, your doctor will monitor the pressure inside your eye regularly.

If you experience any persistent vision problems while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately. If you don't notice an improvement within 2 days of starting treatment, see your doctor.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if loteprednol passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using 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.

What other drugs could 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. 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.