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

Prednisolone acetate belongs to the family of medications called corticosteroids and is used for its ability to reduce inflammation in many parts of the body.

When used in an eye drop, this medication is used to treat swelling and itching of the eye.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones 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 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 suspension contains: prednisolone acetate 1%. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzalkonium chloride 0.004% (as preservative), boric acid, disodium edetate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polysorbate 80, purified water, sodium bisulfite, sodium chloride, and sodium citrate.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose of prednisolone acetate eye drops varies depending on the condition being treated. You can use them as often as every hour until your condition improves. Your doctor will be able to provide you with more specific instructions on how often to instill the drops.

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.

To use eye drops properly:

  1. Wash your hands before using the eye drops.
  2. Shake the container well before use to ensure the medication is evenly mixed throughout the bottle.
  3. 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.
  4. Tilt your head back and look towards the ceiling.
  5. With your index finger, gently pull your lower eyelid down and away from your eye to form a pouch.
  6. Apply one drop into the pouch but do not allow the tip of the container to touch your eye or areas around your eye.
  7. 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.
  8. Repeat with your other eye, if prescribed by your physician.
  9. Wash your hands again to remove any medication.

If you are using more than one topical eye medication (eye drops or ointment), wait at least 5 minutes before putting another medication in your eye.

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

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, instill 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 instil 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 after you have used the medication for the full length of time recommended by your doctor. Discard any remaining medication 28 days after opening the bottle.

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 prednisolone acetate eye drops if you:

  • are allergic to prednisolone or any ingredients of the medication
  • have had an allergic or sensitivity reaction to other corticosteroids
  • have acute herpes simplex, tuberculosis of the eye, vaccinia, chickenpox, or other viral or fungal diseases of the eye
  • have any eye infection associated with discharge
  • have conjunctivitis or blepharitis associated with discharge
  • have recently had a foreign body removed from 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.

  • blurred vision
  • eye irritation
  • watery eyes

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:

  • difficulty focusing
  • eye pain
  • skin rash, itching, redness, or swelling in or around the eyes
  • vision changes

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: Using contact lenses with corticosteroid eye drops increases the risk of infection. It is advisable to avoid wearing contact lenses while using corticosteroid eye drops.

Glaucoma: The use of corticosteroids in the eyes may cause an increase in the pressure in the eye. If you are using this eye drop for 10 days or more, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your vision, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Infection: Corticosteroids such as prednisolone acetate 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.

Pregnancy: Very little prednisolone acetate in an eye drop form is absorbed into the body and available to affect an unborn baby. For this reason, prednisolone acetate eye drops are considered safe to use during pregnancy for short periods of time. If you are concerned about using this medication, discuss the benefits and risks of using this medication with your doctor.

Breast-feeding: Corticosteroids pass into breast milk, however in an eye drop form, very little prednisolone acetate is absorbed into the body and available to pass into breast milk. The use of corticosteroid eye drops, including prednisolone acetate, is considered to be safe while breast-feeding.

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.