Ketotifen eye drops for hay fever (Zaditen)

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Ketotifen eye drops relieve eye inflammation associated with hay fever.

Use twice a day.

It is not recommended that you wear soft contact lenses while you are using the drops.

Type of medicineAntihistamine eye drops
Used forTo relieve eye symptoms of hay fever
Also calledZaditen®
Available asEye drops

Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen. The symptoms of hay fever are due to your immune system reacting to pollen. Cells on the lining of your eyes release a chemical called histamine, which causes conjunctivitis (eye inflammation). Hay fever is also called seasonal allergic conjunctivitis because the symptoms tend to occur at the same time, or in the same season, each year. Typical symptoms of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis are red, itchy and watery eyes.

Ketotifen drops relieve the eye symptoms of hay fever by blocking the action of histamine.

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

  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you wear soft contact lenses.
  • If the drops are intended for a child under 3 years of age. Ketotifen eye drops are not recommended for this age group.
  • 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. Open the bottle.
  3. Tilt your head back a little and pull the lower lid of your eye downwards 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. Apply enough pressure to the bottle to release one drop 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 if you have been told to use the drops in both eyes.
  8. Close the bottle after use.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from the pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about the drops, and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from using them.
  • Ketotifen eye drops should be used twice a day (morning and evening).
  • Take care not to touch your eye, fingers, or any other surface with the dropper of the bottle. This could infect the drops 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 at least five minutes between applying each preparation. 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 ketotifen eye drops unless your doctor has advised you otherwise. This is 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, check again with your doctor.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with ketotifen eye drops. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with the drops. Speak with your doctor if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common ketotifen eye drop side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people
What can I do if I experience this?
Eye irritation or discomfort (such as burning or stinging)This is usually mild and does not last for long
Blurred visionIf this happens, do not drive until you can see clearly again

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the drops, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • 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 do not use ketotifen drops if the bottle has been open for longer than this. This will help 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 prescribed dose.

If you suspect that someone has swallowed some of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

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, Zaditen® 0.25 mg/ml Eye Drops; Spectrum Thea Pharmaceuticals Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2013.
  • British National Formulary; 66th Edition (September 2013) 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 John Cox
Document ID:
28802 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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