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What should I know before taking tetrahydrozoline eye drops?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Tetrahydrolozine is intended for people with red, sore, irritated or dry eyes. If your eyes are irritated from swimming, pollen, allergies or colds, this drug may help. Use the eye drops only in your eyes. Try to avoid spilling the drops into your mouth or nose. Wash your hands before and after handling the bottle. Tilt your head back or lie down, pull your lower eyelid down and drop the medication into your eye. Close your eyes for a few minutes and gently press the inner corner of your eye. Wipe any excess liquid from your face.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember it unless it is almost time for the next dose. The usual dose of tetrahydrozoline eye drops is one or two drops, three to four times a day, for between 48 and 72 hours. Do not use this drug any longer than three days in a row.

Risks of using tetrahydrozoline
Do not use this medication while wearing contact lenses as they can absorb a preservative in the product. You should not take this medication if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. You should also not take this drug if you have taken a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor or furazolidone within the past two weeks. Consult a physician before using this medication in children age six years of age and younger. You should use caution with any medication if you are pregnant, become pregnant while taking medication or are breastfeeding. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, heart problems or thyroid problems, you should exercise caution when taking this drug.

Side effects of using tetrahydrozoline
If you have any of the following serious side effects while using tetrahydrozoline, seek immediate medical attention; tremors, uncontrollable shaking, pounding or racing heartbeat, severe stinging and burning eye irritation, redness, that is lasting or worsens, swelling of your nose or nasal passage, vision changes or eye pain. Symptoms of an allergic reaction that require emergency medical treatment are difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue, throat or face.

Other side effects that require a doctor's attention if they become persistent or severe are: blurred vision or a mild stinging sensation, headaches, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, drowsiness and insomnia.  There may be other side effects not listed here. Contact your doctor about any additional questions you may have.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.