Antazoline and xylometazoline eye drops (Otrivine-Antistin)

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Otrivine-Antistin® drops relieve eye itching and redness associated with allergies.

Use one drop two or three times a day in both eyes. Do not use the drops for more than seven days.

When first put in, eye drops can cause blurred vision. Wait until this clears before you drive.

Type of medicineAnti-allergy eye drops
Used forTo relieve the eye symptoms of allergies such as hay fever
Also calledOtrivine-Antistin®
Available asEye drops

The drops contain two ingredients. Antazoline is an antihistamine; it helps relieve allergic itchiness by blocking the release of a chemical called histamine, which is produced by the body as part of an allergic reaction. Xylometazoline is a sympathomimetic agent; it works on the blood vessels in the eye to reduce redness. Antazoline and xylometazoline eye drops (brand name Otrivine-Antistin®) are used to treat allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis causes red, watery and itchy eyes. It is caused by exposure to irritants such as plant pollens, pet fur, cosmetics or house dust mite. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis occurs at certain times in a year, a common cause being an allergy to pollen in the hay fever season. Perennial allergic conjunctivitis persists throughout the year. This is commonly due to an allergy to house dust mite or animal hair.

Antazoline and xylometazoline eye drops are available on prescription, or you can buy them without a prescription at a pharmacy. They can be used by adults and children over 12 years of age.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using the eye drops it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you wear soft contact lenses.
  • If you have any of the following: high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid, diabetes, increased pressure in your eye (glaucoma), heart or blood vessel disease, difficulty passing urine, or a tumour on your adrenal glands, called phaeochromocytoma.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only use medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to an antihistamine or to any eye drops.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  1. Wash your hands well before you use the drops.
  2. Remove the cap.
  3. Tilt your head back a little and pull the lower lid of your eye out to form a pocket.
  4. Hold the bottle upside down near to your eye. Try not to touch your eye as you do this.
  5. Gently squeeze the bottle to release one drop into your eye. Only use a second drop if the first drop missed going into your eye.
  6. Close your eye for a minute or two, and press gently on the side of your nose where the corner of your eye meets your nose. This helps to stop the drop from draining away and keeps it in your eye.
  7. Repeat the process in your other eye.
  8. Replace the cap.
  • Before you start using the eye drops, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from the pack. It will give you more information about the drops and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from using them.
  • Use the eye drops two or three times a day in both eyes, unless you have been told otherwise by your doctor.
  • Take care not to touch your eye, fingers, or any other surface with the dropper of the bottle. This could infect the liquid left in the bottle.
  • When you first put the drops into your eye, it may cause blurred vision. This should quickly clear, but make sure you can see clearly again before you drive or use machines or tools.
  • If you are using any other eye drops, leave 5-10 minutes between using the other eye drops. This is to prevent more liquid going into your eye than it can handle. Otherwise the drops will overflow from your eye and not have the intended effect.
  • Do not wear soft contact lenses while you are using the eye drops unless your doctor has advised you otherwise. This is because lenses will irritate your eyes, and also because there is a preservative in the drops which can affect soft contact lenses.
  • If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, make an appointment to see a doctor.
  • Your doctor will tell you how long to use the drops for. You should notice an improvement in your symptoms within a few days, but treatment for up to seven days is sometimes required. Do not use the drops for more than seven consecutive days.

Along with their useful effects, eye drops can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common one associated with antazoline and xylometazoline eye drops. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your drops. Unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to a new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if the following continues or becomes troublesome.

Antazoline and xylometazoline eye drop side-effects
What can I do if I experience this?
Mild eye discomfort (such as burning or stinging)This usually disappears within a few minutes of using the drops. Do not drive or use tools or machines unless your vision is clear

Occasionally people can be allergic to eye drops, particularly when the eye drops contain a preservative. If you notice a rash around your eyes, or any swelling or increased itching, stop using the drops and contact a doctor for advice. If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the eye drops, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • Eye drops only keep for four weeks once the bottle has been opened so throw away the bottle after you have finished the course of treatment, even if there is some solution left. Never keep opened bottles of eye drops to use later. This helps to prevent the risk of eye infections.

If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to use with your other medicines.

Never use more than the recommended dose.

If you suspect that someone has swallowed some of this medicine by accident, contact the accident and emergency department of your local hospital for advice.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are using.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, Otrivine-Antistin® Eye Drops; Thea Pharmaceuticals Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2011.
  • British National Formulary; 68th Edition (Sep 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Helen Huins
Document ID:
3719 (v25)
Last Checked:
17/03/2015
Next Review:
16/03/2018
The Information Standard - certified member

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