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What Is Azelastine Ophthalmic Solution Used For?

Azelastine ophthalmic solution is a type of eye drop medication that is used for treating eye allergies. Specifically, it helps to relieve itchy eyes. The eye drops work by blocking a certain histamine receptor in the body, and they have been approved for use in children as young as three years old. There are currently no off-label uses for azelastine ophthalmic solution.

What Is Azelastine Ophthalmic Solution Used For?

Azelastine ophthalmic solution (Optivar®) is an antihistamine eye drop approved for treating itching due to eye allergies.
Allergies can affect various parts of the body, and allergy symptoms are particularly common in the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Eye allergies are known medically as allergic conjunctivitis, because the allergic reaction occurs in the conjunctiva (the thin layer that covers the whites of the eyes and the inner eyelids).
Symptoms of eye allergies may include:
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • A red or pink eye
  • Puffy eyes
  • Burning or stinging of the eyes.
Combined with strategies to minimize a person's contact with allergens, allergy treatment can make life bearable for even the worst allergy sufferer. Treatment often includes allergy eye drops, such as azelastine ophthalmic solution. Unlike with over-the-counter decongestant eye drops, you can use azelastine ophthalmic solution long-term without the risk of making the redness and swelling worse by taking it too long.

How Does It Work?

Azelastine ophthalmic solution is part of a class of drugs called antihistamines. Specifically, it is an H1 receptor antagonist. This means that it blocks a specific type of histamine receptor in the body (known as H1 receptors). Because allergic reactions are partly caused by the release of histamine from certain cells in the body, azelastine ophthalmic solution can help relieve or prevent allergy symptoms.
In addition to blocking histamine receptors, azelastine ophthalmic solution also seems to decrease the release of histamine from the cells in the body and may also inhibit other substances (such as leukotrienes) produced by the body in response to an allergen.
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