Zaditor and Alaway for Eye Allergies

Ketotifen ophthalmic drops

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Zaditor and Alaway both contain the active ingredient ketotifen, which is a topical antihistamine eye drop for the treatment of itchy eyes associated with allergic conjunctivitis. Ketotifen is also marketed under the brands Claritin Eye and Zyrtec Eye. All of these medicines are available over-the-counter without a prescription. The active ingredient is the same in all of these eye drops -- ketotifen -- which works in two different ways to treat eye allergies.

Ketotifen blocks the effects of histamine and stabilizes mast cells from releasing additional allergic chemicals. Ketotifen is approved for adults and children 3 years of age and older, with the correct dose being one drop in each eye twice daily.

While some studies show that Patanol (olopatadine) is more effective at treating eye allergies than ketotifen, other studies show that many of the other antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer eye drops used to treat itchy eyes all work about the same, and are better at treating eye allergies when compared to many other over-the-counter eye drops, including Visine. Side effects of ketotifen are mild and may include eye irritation, sore throat, headache and a runny nose.

Learn more about the treatment of itchy eyes associated with eye allergy.


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Figus M, Fogagnolo P, Lazzeri S, et al. Treatment of Allergic Conjunctivitis: Results of a 1-Month, Single-Masked Randomized Study. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2010 Sep-Oct;20(5):811-8.

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