Altafrin

Name: Altafrin

What is Altafrin (phenylephrine ophthalmic)?

Phenylephrine is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels.

Phenylephrine ophthalmic (for the eyes) is used to relieve eye redness, dryness, burning, and irritation caused by wind, sun, and other irritants.

Prescription-strength phenylephrine ophthalmic is used to constrict blood vessels in the eye and to dilate (make bigger) the pupil for conditions such as glaucoma, before surgery, and before eye examinations.

Phenylephrine ophthalmic may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

How should I use Altafrin (phenylephrine ophthalmic)?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Wash your hands before using the eye drops.

To apply the eye drops:

  • Tilt your head back slightly and pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket. Hold the dropper above the eye with the tip down. Look up and away from the dropper and squeeze out a drop.

  • Close your eyes for 2 or 3 minutes with your head tipped down, without blinking or squinting. Gently press your finger to the inside corner of the eye for 2 to 3 minutes, to keep the liquid from draining into your tear duct.

  • Use only the number of drops your doctor has prescribed, or as recommended on the medicine label. If you use more than one drop, wait about 5 minutes between drops.

  • Wait at least 10 minutes before using any other eye drops your doctor has prescribed.

Do not touch the tip of the eye dropper or place it directly on your eye. A contaminated dropper can infect your eye, which could lead to serious vision problems.

Do not use the eye drops if the liquid has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Your blood pressure may need to be checked while you are using phenylephrine ophthalmic.

Do not use this medicine for longer than 3 days. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using phenylephrine ophthalmic.

Long-term use of phenylephrine ophthalmic may damage the blood vessels (veins and arteries) in the eyes.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

Altafrin (phenylephrine ophthalmic) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Although the risk of serious side effects is low when phenylephrine ophthalmic is used in the eyes, side effects can occur if the medicine is absorbed into your bloodstream. Stop using phenylephrine ophthalmic and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fast or irregular heart rate;

  • sweating, tremors;

  • pale skin, light-headed feeling;

  • severe headache, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, shortness of breath; or

  • chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder.

Less serious side effects may be more likely, and you may have none at all.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • AK-Dilate
  • Altafrin
  • Eye Cool
  • Mydfrin
  • Neofrin
  • Neo-Synephrine
  • Ocu-Phrin
  • Prefrin Liquifilm

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Solution

Therapeutic Class: Mydriatic-Cycloplegic

Pharmacologic Class: Sympathomimetic

Chemical Class: Alkylarylamine

Before Using Altafrin

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Children may be especially sensitive to the effects of phenylephrine. This may increase the chance of side effects during treatment. In addition, the 10% strength is not recommended for use in infants. Also, the 2.5 and 10% strengths are not recommended for use in low birth weight infants.

Geriatric

Repeated use of 2.5 or 10% phenylephrine may increase the chance of problems during treatment with this medicine. In addition, heart and blood vessel problems have occurred more often in elderly patients than in younger adults.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Clorgyline
  • Iproniazid
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Linezolid
  • Nialamide
  • Phenelzine
  • Procarbazine
  • Rasagiline
  • Selegiline
  • Tranylcypromine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Clomipramine
  • Desipramine
  • Dothiepin
  • Doxepin
  • Furazolidone
  • Imipramine
  • Iobenguane I 123
  • Lofepramine
  • Midodrine
  • Nortriptyline
  • Opipramol
  • Pargyline
  • Protriptyline
  • Trimipramine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Guanethidine
  • Propranolol

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus or
  • Heart or blood vessel disease or
  • High blood pressure—The 2.5 and 10% strengths of phenylephrine may make the condition worse
  • Idiopathic orthostatic hypotension (a certain kind of low blood pressure)—Use of this medicine may cause a large increase in blood pressure to occur

Altafrin Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

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

Symptoms of too much medicine being absorbed into the body - Less common with 10% solution; rare with 2.5% or weaker solution
  • Dizziness
  • fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
  • increased sweating
  • increase in blood pressure
  • paleness
  • trembling

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common with 2.5 or 10% solution
  • Burning or stinging of eyes
  • headache or browache
  • sensitivity of eyes to light
  • watering of eyes
Less common
  • Eye irritation not present before use of this medicine

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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