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

Olopatadine belongs to the family of medications called antihistamines. It is used to relieve signs and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis (an allergic reaction affecting the eyes), such as itchy eyes, red eyes, and swelling of the surface of the eye.

It works by blocking histamine, a substance released by the body during an allergic reaction. It also works by preventing the release of natural chemicals from cells in the body (mast cells) involved in an allergic reaction.

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 ophthalmic solution contains olopatadine HCl 1.11 mg equivalent to olopatadine 1 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzalkonium chloride (as preservative), dibasic sodium phosphate, hydrochloric acid/sodium hydroxide (to adjust pH), purified water, and sodium chloride.

How should I use this medication?

The usual recommended dose of olopatadine 0.1% is 1 to 2 drops in each affected eye twice daily.

The usual recommended dose of olopatadine 0.2% is 1 drop in each affected eye once daily.

Before using the eye drops, wash your hands thoroughly. Follow your doctor or pharmacist's instructions on how to use the eye drops. Do not allow the eye dropper to touch any surface. This could contaminate the dropper and lead to an eye infection. Keep the bottle tightly closed when you are not using it.

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 to use this medication 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 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 this medication if you are allergic to olopatadine or any ingredients of the medication.

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 less than 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.

  • burning or stinging in the eyes
  • dry eye
  • eyelid margin crusting
  • headache

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as skin rash, hives, swelling, 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.

Contact lenses: If you wear contact lenses, remove them before inserting the drops, and wait 10 minutes before putting your lenses back in. If your eyes become red, take out your lenses and consult your eye doctor.

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: Olopatadine may pass 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 under 3 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that 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.