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Optivar (Generic Azelastine Ophthalmic)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Optivar (generic name: azelastine) is a prescription medication primarily used to treat allergic conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the clear tissue that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelids) due to an allergic reaction. It belongs to a class of drugs called antihistamines.

Allergic conjunctivitis can occur when the eyes come into contact with certain allergens, such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, or mold spores. When these allergens come into contact with the eyes, they trigger an immune response, leading to symptoms such as itching, redness, watering, and swelling of the eyes.

Optivar is prescribed to relieve the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. It works by blocking the effects of histamine, a chemical released by the immune system during an allergic reaction. Histamine is responsible for the symptoms associated with allergies, such as itching and inflammation. By blocking the histamine receptors in the eyes, Optivar helps reduce or alleviate these symptoms, providing relief to individuals with allergic conjunctivitis.

How should this medicine be used?

Optivar (azelastine) is typically available as eye drops and should be used according to the instructions provided by your healthcare professional or as indicated on the medication label. Here are general guidelines for using Optivar:

  • Before using the eye drops, make sure your hands are clean and dry.
  • Shake the Optivar bottle gently to ensure the solution is well mixed.
  • Tilt your head back slightly and pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket.
  • Hold the Optivar bottle upside down (with the dropper tip down) and place the dropper close to your eye without touching it.
  • Squeeze the bottle gently to instill the prescribed number of drops into the eye(s) as directed by your doctor. Usually, one or two drops are used in each affected eye, and the frequency of use can vary from once to twice daily.
  • After instilling the drops, release your lower eyelid and gently close your eyes for a moment. This allows the medication to spread evenly over the surface of the eye.
  • If you are using Optivar in both eyes, repeat the process for the other eye if instructed to do so.
  • Avoid blinking excessively or squeezing your eyes tightly after applying the drops, as this can disrupt the distribution of the medication.
  • If you wear contact lenses, remove them before using Optivar. Wait at least 10 to 15 minutes after using the eye drops before reinserting your contact lenses.
  • Replace the cap on the Optivar bottle immediately after use to prevent contamination.

Remember to follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare professional, as they may differ depending on your condition and individual circumstances. If you have any questions or concerns about using Optivar, it’s best to consult your doctor or pharmacist for further guidance.

Other uses for this medicine

Optivar (azelastine) is primarily prescribed for the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. However, it’s important to note that the information provided here is based on general knowledge, and specific usage should always be determined by a healthcare professional.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for special precautions, here are a few important considerations:

  • Allergies: Inform your healthcare provider if you have any known allergies to azelastine or any other medications.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, it is essential to discuss the potential risks and benefits of using Optivar with your healthcare provider. They will evaluate the potential risks to the unborn baby or nursing infant.
  • Medical conditions: Inform your doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions you have, especially if you have any eye infections or other eye conditions.
  • Contact lenses: If you wear contact lenses, remove them before using Optivar eye drops. You can reinsert your contact lenses after waiting for at least 10 to 15 minutes after using the drops. Optivar contains preservatives that can be absorbed by soft contact lenses and may cause eye irritation.
  • Side effects: Although uncommon, Optivar can cause side effects such as temporary blurred vision, eye irritation, burning or stinging sensation in the eyes, headache, bitter taste, or dry mouth. If you experience any persistent or severe side effects, contact your healthcare provider.
  • Drug interactions: It’s important to inform your doctor or pharmacist about all the medications, including over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and vitamins, that you are currently taking. They can help determine if there are any potential drug interactions with Optivar.

These precautions are not exhaustive, and it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice based on your specific medical history and circumstances. They will provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the use of Optivar and any special precautions you should take.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary instructions associated with the use of Optivar (azelastine). You can generally continue with your regular diet while using this medication. However, it’s always a good idea to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to support overall well-being.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Optivar, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Optivar (azelastine) eye drops may cause some side effects. Not everyone experiences these side effects, and some individuals may have different reactions. The common side effects of Optivar can include:

  • Eye discomfort: You may experience temporary eye discomfort, such as burning, stinging, or itching in the eyes.
  • Blurred vision: Optivar can cause temporary blurred vision. Avoid driving or operating machinery if your vision is affected.
  • Unpleasant taste: Some individuals may experience a bitter taste in the mouth after using Optivar eye drops.
  • Dry mouth: Optivar may cause a temporary sensation of dryness in the mouth.

These side effects are generally mild and transient, resolving on their own without the need for medical intervention. However, if these side effects persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation.

In rare cases, more serious side effects may occur. Although uncommon, contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Eye pain or redness: If you develop severe eye pain, persistent redness, or increased irritation in the eyes, it may indicate a more serious reaction.
  • Eye discharge or swelling: Excessive discharge or swelling of the eyes should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
  • Unpleasant taste: In rare cases, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to Optivar. Symptoms may include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction.

It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of all possible side effects. If you have concerns about specific side effects or experience any unexpected or severe reactions while using Optivar, it is advisable to contact your healthcare provider for guidance and assistance.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?


  • Store Optivar eye drops at room temperature, away from excessive heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
  • Do not freeze the medication.
  • Keep Optivar out of the reach of children and pets.


  • Do not keep or use expired Optivar eye drops. Discard any unused medication after the expiration date.
  • Follow the specific disposal instructions provided by your healthcare provider or pharmacist. They can inform you about local regulations and guidelines for the safe disposal of medications.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of accidental ingestion of Optivar or if you suspect an overdose, contact emergency medical services or your local poison control center immediately.
  • The symptoms of an overdose may include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, or an irregular heartbeat.
  • It is always important to seek prompt medical attention in such situations.

What other information should I know?

  • Optivar is for ocular use (eye use) only. Do not swallow the medication or use it in any other part of the body.
  • Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking, as they may interact with Optivar.
  • If you are using Optivar along with other eye drops or medications, wait at least 10 minutes between applying different eye drops to allow each medication to have its effect.
  • Contact lenses should be removed before using Optivar eye drops. You can reinsert them 10 to 15 minutes after using the medication.
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding the dosage and frequency of Optivar use. Do not change the dosage or frequency without consulting them.
  • Regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider may be necessary to monitor your response to Optivar and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Remember, this information is meant as a general guide, and it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for specific instructions and advice regarding the storage, disposal, emergency procedures, and any other information related to Optivar based on your individual circumstances.

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