Lastacaft (alcaftadine ophthalmic solution) is an antihistamine eye drop used to treat eye allergies. It was introduced as prescription only in 2010. At the end of 2021, Lastacaft was approved for over-the-counter (OTC) use. Mentioned in a previous blog about eye allergies, this follows a similar course to Pataday; another prescription drop recently turned OTC. As these drops come with minimal side effects, and have proven themselves to be beneficial for many people struggling with allergies, the move to OTC is an appreciated one by patients and doctors alike.
Unlike previous OTC allergy drops like Alaway and Zaditor, newer OTC options like Lastacaft and Pataday act in two different ways to block allergy symptoms. Lastacaft not only blocks the body from using histamine, it also blocks the release of it all together. This one-two punch results in superior symptom relief.
Lastacaft is dosed as one drop in both eyes once daily, and is approved for patients two and older. Lastacaft works against the most common allergens: Pet dander, pollen, grass, and ragweed. It is available in five milliliter bottles which should last about 60 days.
Side effects of Lastacaft, affecting approximately 3% of people, may include eye redness, burning, tearing, and itch. These side effects, however, are difficult to separate from the symptoms of allergies. Antihistamines are generally well tolerated, especially in topical form, and do not cause drowsiness like antihistamine pills such as Benadryl can.
Eye allergies affect millions annually and cause symptoms that can be severe enough to affect one’s quality of life. OTC medications offer convenience as patients do not need to visit their healthcare provider or use a pharmacy to obtain the medication. This is overall a net positive; however, it is important that someone dealing with any eye issue also seeks professional medical advice. Other eye conditions can mimic the symptoms of allergies, and treating them with the wrong medication could allow progression and a worse outcome. If you think you are suffering from eye allergies, talk to your doctor. See the links below for more information.