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

Gatifloxacin belongs to the class of medications known as fluoroquinolones. Fluoroquinolones are antibiotics that are used to treat infections caused by certain types of bacteria. Gatifloxacin ophthalmic solution is an antibiotic eye drop used to treat eye infections called bacterial conjunctivitis in people one year of age and older. It works by killing the bacteria that causes the 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 use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each mL of sterile, clear, pale yellow colored, isotonic, unbuffered ophthalmic solution contains gatifloxacin 3 mg/mL (0.3%). Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzalkonium chloride 0.005% (as preservative), edetate disodium, purified water, and sodium chloride. May contain hydrochloric acid and/or sodium hydroxide to adjust pH (target pH of 6).

How should I use this medication?

Gatifloxacin eye drops are usually used for a period of one week. On days 1 and 2, use one drop every 2 hours in the infected eye(s) while awake, up to 8 times a day. On days 3 to 7, use one drop 4 times a day while awake. You should space the doses evenly throughout the day.

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 using the medication without consulting your doctor.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you the correct method of applying eye drops.

To use the eye drops:

  1. Wash your hands before using the medication.
  2. Tilt your head back and look at the ceiling.
  3. Gently pull down the lower eyelid, creating a small pocket.
  4. Turn the bottle upside down and gently apply one drop into the affected eye.
  5. Let go of the lower lid and close your eyes for half a minute.

Take care to avoid contaminating the tip of the eye dropper. If you wear contact lenses, you should stop wearing them while you have the eye infection.

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 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.

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 gatifloxacin or any ingredients of the medication
  • are allergic to any fluoroquinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, ofloxacin, norfloxacin)

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.

  • decreased vision
  • dizziness
  • dry eye
  • eye irritation
  • eye pain
  • nausea
  • runny nose
  • swelling and redness of the eyelid
  • tearing or eye discharge
  • unusual aftertaste

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:

  • blurred vision
  • sensitivity to light
  • spots on the cornea
  • swelling of the cornea
  • other disorders of the area around the cornea

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

  • signs of an allergic reaction such as skin itching, rash, redness, swelling, or hives

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 using 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.

Allergic reactions: Gatifloxacin may cause a skin rash and other serious allergic reactions. If you notice a skin rash, skin blisters, skin itching, or hives, stop taking the medication and contact your doctor immediately.

Contact lenses: Avoid wearing contact lenses while you have signs and symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis.

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 gatifloxacin 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 one year of age. Gatifloxacin ophthalmic solution has been used to treat conjunctivitis in children between the ages of 1 and 12.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Specific studies looking at drug interactions have not been done with this medication. When gatifloxacin is absorbed into the bloodstream, there may be an interaction between gatifloxacin and any of the following:

  • antacids (containing aluminum, calcium, and magnesium)
  • digoxin
  • probenecid
  • vitamins (containing zinc, calcium, magnesium, or iron)

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.