Oxymetazoline Ophthalmic Solution

Doctors prescribe Oxymetazoline ophthalmic for symptomatic relief of red-eye. However, there are some side effects and interactions you should know about and take into account.
Oxymetazoline Ophthalmic Solution

Last update: 18 November, 2020

Oxymetazoline ophthalmic is a topical eye medication for local vasoconstriction in the conjunctival blood vessels. In technical terms, it’s a sympathomimetic drug with direct action and α-agonist activity. It produces vasoconstriction due to the direct action of the drug on the α-2a receptors of the vascular endothelium.

It has a rapid onset of action within minutes. However, the effect has a relatively long duration of six or more hours. Also, it has a low tendency to a rebounding congestion side-effect.

In this article, we’ll take a look at this medication, how it works, and what it does.

How to use ophthalmic oxymetazoline

A woman putting drops in her eyes.

This medication is for the symptomatic relief of the red-eye. So, doctors prescribe it for mild eye irritations due to allergies, eye fatigue, and other factors.

The dosage for adults and children over 6 years is one or two drops every eight hours in the affected conjunctival sac. For proper administration, pry open the eyelids and add a drop inside the lower eyelid, while looking behind you. Don’t touch the dropper with your eyes or fingers and try to keep your eye open and not blink for a few seconds. However, if the symptoms persist after three days of treatment, then you should discontinue its application and consult a doctor.

Ophthalmic oxymetazoline contraindications

You shouldn’t use Oxymetazoline ophthalmic in cases of hypersensitivity to this active substance, to any of the excipients of the formulation, or other sympathomimetics.

Also, it isn’t suitable for people with closed-angle glaucoma nor people with a genetic predisposition to it. Similarly, it isn’t suitable for uncontrolled hypertensive patients, cardiovascular diseases, hyperglycemia, and hypothyroidism.

Precautions to take while using Oxymetazoline ophthalmic

Frequent or prolonged use may lead to greater drug absorption and there may be side-effects at a general level. People in the following situations must exercise extra caution:

  • Those with angina or who are taking digoxin.
  • People undergoing treatment with antidepressants.
  • Hypertensive people taking methyldopa.
  • People currently taking phenothiazine.
  • Those with prostate conditions.
  • People with severe eye inflammation.
  • Anyone under 18 years of age.

Keep in mind that people who overuse Oxymetazoline ophthalmic may become dependent on the medication to relieve their chronic congestion. Also, if you wear contact lenses, then you must take them off before you use this substance and wait about 15 or 20 minutes before you put them back on.

There’s no information on whether oxymetazoline ophthalmic could lead to harm if you’re either pregnant or lactating. Also, doctors still do not know if breastfeeding women excrete this substance through their milk. However, take possible systemic absorption into account.

Side effects

Another woman putting drops in her eyes.

There are reports of occasional adverse effects such as irritation and eye pain after using Oxymetazoline ophthalmic. Also, excessive or continuous doses can lead to systemic absorption and excessive stimulation of the central nervous system (CNS) and paradoxical depression, cardiovascular collapse, shock, and even coma. Finally, there may also be inhibition of CNS functions, such as drowsiness, decreased body temperature, hypotension, apnea and loss of consciousness.

Oxymetazoline ophthalmic drug interactions

Finally, there are pharmacological interactions when you use Oxymetazoline ophthalmic in situations, such as:

  • People currently or formerly (in the last two weeks) taking tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors or methyldopa.
  • Those undergoing treatment with phenothiazine or asthma medications such as adrenergic bronchodilators.
  • You must wait at least 5 minutes between the administration of one type of eyedrops and another when using multiple solutions during the same period.
  • Also, once you open the container, you must discard it after 28 days. However, if you’d like to keep it longer then keep it away from light and any temperatures above 28 degrees.


Oxymetazoline ophthalmic is useful in the relief of red eye symptoms. However, don’t use it for more than three days, after which, if there’s no noticeable improvement, you should seek help from a health professional.

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