Available by prescription, loteprednol is used for treating certain eye problems in adults. It comes in two formulations -- the low-strength Alrex and the high-strength Lotemax. Each strength is approved for specific uses. Alrex is only approved for treating eye allergies, and Lotemax is only approved for treating inflammatory eye conditions or pain. Using Alrex for inflammation of the eye would be considered an "off-label" use.
An Introduction to the Uses of Loteprednol
Loteprednol etabonate (Alrex®, Lotemax®) is an eye medication. It is available by prescription only and belongs to a group of medications known as corticosteroids.
The low-strength formulation (Alrex) is approved only for treating eye allergies. The high-strength formulation (Lotemax) is approved for treating a variety of different inflammatory eye conditions, as well as inflammation that can occur after an eye surgery. Some examples of inflammatory eye conditions that are treated with Lotemax include but are not limited to:
Lotemax drops are approved to treat a wide range of inflammatory eye conditions (including postsurgical inflammation), while Lotemax ointment and gel are approved only for treating postsurgical eye inflammation and pain.
Loteprednol is not as effective as prednisolone eye drops (a commonly used eye steroid), but is less likely to cause high eye pressure -- a potentially serious side effect.
How Does Loteprednol Work?
Loteprednol belongs to a group of medications known as corticosteroids, or simply "steroids" for short. Steroids can have many different effects in the body, including anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy effects.
However, long-term use of steroids can cause bothersome and sometimes serious side effects, and this limits the usefulness of many steroids. Because loteprednol is an eye medication, its effects are generally limited to the eye. This helps prevent many of the long-term side effects of steroids.
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