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Ketotifen is commonly found in over-the-counter allergy eye drops such as Alaway or Zaditor. In America, it is unavailable commercially as an oral therapy. Previously ketotifen has been used orally for treatment of asthma or to reduce the incidence of urticaria (hives). In the US, oral ketotifen preparations can be compounded in certified compounding pharmacies. Oral ketotifen was not withdrawn from the market for safety reasons.
Other Names: Zaditor, Alaway
Drug Class: Antihistamine, Mast Cell Stabilizer
Mechanism of Action: Ketotifen exhibits H1 receptor antagonizing effects and mast cell stabilization effects. Antagonizing histamine and stabilizing mast cells reduces inflammatory mediators both locally when used as an eye drop and systemically when taken orally.
Indications: As an ophthalmic preparation it is used for conjunctivitis and allergies. As an oral preparation it is used for urticaria (hives).
Drug Interactions: Do not take ketotifen with other antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Claritin (loratadine).
Consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking ketotifen with anticholinergic drugs. These are commonly found in maintenance inhalers such as Spiriva (tiotropium) or Atrovent (ipratropium).
Patients should talk to their doctor if they are taking oral diabetic agents such as glyburide and metformin because this may result in reversible thrombocytopenia.
Adverse Effects: Do not take ketotifen if you are allergic to it.
Oral ketotifen is normally well-tolerated and safe. The most common side effect is sedation, similar to other first-generation antihistamines. Other side effects may include dizziness, dry mouth, or headache.
Administration/Dosing: Usual adult dosing has been reported for oral formulations at 1 mg twice daily and 0.5 mg twice daily for pediatrics.
Pregnancy – Consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking ketotifen orally if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Breastfeeding – Consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking ketotifen orally if you are breastfeeding.
Pediatric – See Administration/Dosing
- Drugs.com [Internet]. Ketotifen information from Drugs.com; c1996-2018 [Updated: June 1 2018, Cited: 24 July 2018]. Available from www.drugs.com
- Sokol KC, Amar NK, Starkey J, Grant JA. Ketotifen in the management of chronic urticaria: resurrection of an old drug. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. 2013;111(6):433-436. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2013.10.003.
- Ketotifen. Lexi-Drugs. Lexicomp. Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Riverwoods, IL. Available at: http://online.lexi.com. Accessed July 24, 2018.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.