Known as Allergodil (Opthalmic Solution), Optilast in the UK
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A generic drug is a copy of the brand-name drug with the same dosage, safety, strength, quality, consumption method, performance, and intended use. Before generics become available on the market, the generic company must prove it has the same active ingredients as the brand-name drug and works in the same way and in the same amount of time in the body.
The only differences between generics and their brand-name counterparts is that generics are less expensive and may look slightly different (eg. different shape or color), as trademarks laws prevent a generic from looking exactly like the brand-name drug.
Generics are less expensive because generic manufacturers don't have to invest large sums of money to develop a drug. When the brand-name patent expires, generic companies can manufacture a copy of the brand-name and sell it at a substantial discount.
OPTIVAR (azelastine hydrochloride) eye drops are used to treat allergic conjunctivitis, which is irritation and inflammation caused by allergens like pollen, dust, or pet dander. The conjunctiva is a clear and thin membrane of tissue that covers the surface of the eye and inner eyelids. Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis may include:
Allergic conjunctivitis is a common symptom of seasonal allergies and can happen in concert with other allergy symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and cough.
Azelastine hydrochloride is a topical histamine antagonist that works by blocking the body’s natural reaction to allergens. The body releases histamine in the presence of foreign allergens and histamine activates an inflammation response by the immune system. Azelastine hydrochloride blocks the release of histamine and therefore prevents swelling, redness, itching, and discharge caused the allergic response.
The recommended dosage of azelastine hydrochloride 0.05% is one drop instilled into each affected eye twice daily.
The active ingredient in OPTIVAR eye drops is azelastine hydrochloride 0.5%.
Inactive ingredients include benzalkonium chloride (antibacterial), edetate disodium, hypromellose, sorbitol, sodium hydroxide (to balance pH), and water.
Patients using azelastine hydrochloride should take care not to touch the tip of the applicator to any surface, including the eye or eyelids. If the dropper touches any surface, it may impact the sterility and should be thrown out. Using a non-sterile ophthalmic medication can result in viral or bacterial infection.
Contact lenses should be removed while applying azelastine hydrochloride, and the product should not be used to treat redness related to contact lens irritation. Patients should wait at least 10 minutes before inserting contact lenses after applying azelastine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution, because the preservative benzalkonium chloride may absorb into the lenses.
Separate the application of azelastine hydrochloride from other eye drops by at least 10 minutes.
The most common side effects people experience from OPTIVAR eye drops include:
These side effects are often mild and resolve on their own once treatment is complete.
Other, more rare side effects may include:
Some of the side effects listed above are similar to the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. If side effects last after stopping azelastine hydrochloride drops, contact your prescribing physician.
If OPTIVAR cost is a concern, Canada Drugs Direct has options that may be more affordable than local pharmacies. OPTIVAR is only available by prescription.