Ketotifen drop designed to provide ocular itching relief

November 1, 2008

A new ketotifen fumarate ophthalmic solution (Refresh Eye Itch Relief, Allergan) offers patients another option for the treatment of episodic ocular itching as well as seasonal and chronic allergic conjunctivitis.

Key Points

The new drop is available over the counter but has the same efficacy as the original prescription formula of ketotifen, according to the company. It has a triple-action formulation designed to offer an antihistamine effect in minutes for relief from ocular allergies, mast cell stabilization to sustain relief for up to 12 hours, and eosinophil inhibition to prevent late-phase allergic reaction. It is safe for adults as well as children aged 3 or more years, according to the company.

Dr. Luchs, also director of the refractive surgical service at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, NY, and in private practice with South Shore Eye Care, Wantagh and Massapequa, NY, told Ophthalmology Times that he has made patients aware of the availability of this treatment option on the market. The solution's active ingredient, ketotifen, is part of the most-prescribed class of drugs (antihistamine/mast cell stabilizers) that has been shown to work well against seasonal and chronic allergic conjunctivitis, he said.

"Ketotifen is an excellent mast cell stabilizer and has some anti-inflammatory properties against some of the other cells and mediators involved further down the cascade," he continued.

Patient feedback

His patients appreciate that the drop is accessible without a prescription, Dr. Luchs told Ophthalmology Times, adding that cost has not been an issue for his patients, either. "The feedback I've gotten from patients who have used it has been generally positive. It's certainly efficacious," he said.

"Ketotifen has always been an excellent antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer. It makes a nice addition to the drugs that we have available to treat allergic conjunctivitis. All the drugs in this class . . . work very well for treating ocular allergies, and ketotifen has always been very well tolerated and very effective in my patient population," Dr. Luchs concluded.

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