Itchy eyes? New drug approved by FDA could provide relief

December 11, 2006

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved in October an over-the-counter medication to relieve eye itch. Zaditor (ketotifen fumarate), manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., is an eye itch relief drop safe for children as young as three years of age. With just one drop, Zaditor provides up to 12 hours of continuous relief.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved in October an over-the-counter medication to relieve eye itch. Zaditor (ketotifen fumarate), manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., is an eye itch relief drop safe for children as young as three years of age. With just one drop, Zaditor provides up to 12 hours of continuous relief.

 “Now for the first time, people who suffer from itchy eyes caused by allergens such as pollen or pet dander can get fast, long-acting relief over-the-counter with Zaditor,” says Marion Morton, Head of the US Novartis Ophthalmics Business Unit. “Because Zaditor is now available at full prescription strength without a prescription, consumers can save time and money without sacrificing long-lasting symptom relief.”

Zaditor treats eye itch associated with pollen, ragweed, grass, animal hair, and dander without the potentially negative effects of a decongestant. Many OTC eye drops contain topical decongestants, which constrict the blood vessels to reduce the appearance of redness in the eye. With regular use, these products can interfere with the eye’s natural ability to regulate the blood vessels, resulting in a continued redness for a period of time after discontinuation, known as rebound effect.

Zaditor will be available over-the-counter in drug and chain stores nationwide beginning January 2007.