Loteprednol | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

loteprednol, Ophthalmic suspension

All Brands

  • Alrex
  • Lotemax
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for loteprednol

Ophthalmic suspension
1

Loteprednol is used to treat eye redness, inflammation (swelling and irritation), and pain that may be caused by bacterial infections, allergies, or surgery.

2

This drug is available as an ophthalmic suspension (eye drops), a gel, and an ointment. It should only be used for your eyes.

3

The drops, gel, and ointment are available as the brand-name drug Lotemax. The drops are also available as the brand-name drug Alrex. Loteprednol is not available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of loteprednol include blurred vision, a burning sensation in your eyes, dry or itchy eyes, eye discharge, or tearing. They also include eye sensitivity to light.

5

Using this drug may increase the time it takes your body to heal from wounds. If you use the drug for too long, your risk of cataracts, vision loss, glaucoma, or secondary eye infections increases. If you use this drug for 10 days or longer, your doctor should check the pressure in your eyes to make sure it has not increased to an unhealthy level.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Slower healing

Using this drug may increase the time it takes your body to heal from wounds. If you’re using this drug to treat eye inflammation from cataract surgery, it may take your wound longer to heal.

Drug features

Loteprednol is a prescription drug. It’s available as a suspension (eye drops), gel, and ointment. The drops, gel, and ointment are available as the brand-name drug Lotemax. The drops are also available as the brand-name drug Alrex. Loteprednol is not available as a generic drug. 

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Loteprednol is used to treat eye swelling, pain, and itching that may be caused by bacterial infections, allergies, or surgery.

How it works

Loteprednol belongs to a class of drugs called topical corticosteroids.

More Details

How it works

Loteprednol belongs to a class of drugs called topical corticosteroids. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Loteprednol works by decreasing inflammation of the eye. Reducing inflammation will reduce redness, pain, and swelling.

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loteprednol Side Effects

Ophthalmic suspension

More Common Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of loteprednol include:

  • blurred vision

  • mild stinging

  • dry eyes

  • itching

  • eye discharge

  • a feeling that something is in your eye

  • tearing

  • light sensitivity

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Secondary eye infections (infections that occur during or after treatment for the first infection). Symptoms of eye infections include:

    • eye pain, swelling, or itching
    • discharge
    • a feeling that something is in your eye
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

It’s common to have the following side effects right after using this drug: 

  • blurred vision
  • mild stinging
  • a feeling that something is in your eye
  • eye discharge

These effects don’t last long.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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loteprednol May Interact with Other Medications

Ophthalmic suspension

Loteprednol can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. 

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with glaucoma

Using this drug may increase the pressure inside your eyes. If you have glaucoma, the pressure inside your eyes is already higher than normal. Using this drug could make it worse. 

People with eye infections

This drug should only be used to treat inflammation from bacterial infections. Do not use this drug if your eye inflammation is caused by a fungal, viral, or mycobacterial infection. (A mycobacterial germ causes conditions such as tuberculosis or leprosy.) Using this drug to treat inflammation caused by these other germs can make the infections worse.

Pregnant women

This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things: 

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus. 

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. 

Women who are breast-feeding

It’s not known if this drug is absorbed into your body and passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For children

Lotemax ointment should not be used in children after eye surgery. The ointment can cause problems with the child’s vision.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you become pregnant while using this drug.

Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include: 

  • rash
  • itching
  • hives
  • swelling of your lips, tongue, face, and throat
  • shortness of breath or trouble breathing 

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take loteprednol (Dosage)

Ophthalmic suspension

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on: 

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Nonallergic eye inflammation

Brand: Lotemax

Form: Ophthalmic suspension
Strengths: 5 mg/mL (0.5%)
Form: Ophthalmic gel
Strengths: 5 mg/g (0.5%)
Form: Ophthalmic ointment
Strengths: 5 mg/g (0.5%)
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Loteprednol drops:
    • The typical dose is one or two drops in the affected eye, four times per day.
    • During the first week of treatment, the dose may be increased by one drop every hour, if needed.
  • Loteprednol gel and ointment are not used for nonallergic eye inflammation.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It has not been confirmed that loteprednol is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years of age.

Eye inflammation after surgery

Brand: Lotemax

Form: Ophthalmic suspension
Strengths: 5 mg/mL (0.5%)
Form: Ophthalmic gel
Strengths: 5 mg/g (0.5%)
Form: Ophthalmic ointment
Strengths: 5 mg/g (0.5%)
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Loteprednol drops:
    • The typical dose is one or two drops in the affected eye, four times per day.
    • You should start using the drops 24 hours after surgery and continue using them for 2 weeks.
  • Loteprednol gel:
    • The typical dose is one or two drops in the affected eye, four times per day.
    • You should start drops 24 hours after surgery and continue using them for 2 weeks.
  • Loteprednol ointment:
    • The typical dose is about a ½-inch ribbon in the affected eye.
    • You should start the drug 24 hours after surgery and continue using it for 2 weeks.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It has not been confirmed that loteprednol is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years of age.

Eye inflammation from allergies

Brand: Lotemax

Form: Ophthalmic suspension
Strengths: 5 mg/mL (0.5%)
Form: Ophthalmic gel
Strengths: 5 mg/g (0.5%)
Form: Ophthalmic ointment
Strengths: 5 mg/g (0.5%)

Brand: Alrex

Form: Ophthalmic suspension
Strengths: 2 mg/mL (0.2%)
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Loteprednol drops: The typical dose is one drop in the affected eye, four times per day.
  • Loteprednol gel and ointment are not used for eye inflammation caused by allergies.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It has not been confirmed that loteprednol is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years of age.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed. 

If you stop using the drug suddenly or don’t use it at all

Your symptoms may return or get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t use the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well.

If you use too much

If you think you’ve used too much of the drug, call your doctor right away.

How to tell if the drug is working

The redness, swelling, and pain in your eye or eyes should start to go away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

This drug is used for short-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug
timing Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
storage Store this drug carefully See Details
medication is not refillable A prescription for this medication is not refillable See Details
Travel Travel See Details
Self-management Self-management See Details
Clinical monitoring Clinical monitoring See Details
not usually stocked Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
prior authorization Insurance See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store the drops at room temperature from 59ºF to 77°F (15ºC to 25°C).
  • Keep this drug away from high temperatures.
  • Do not freeze this drug.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is not refillable

You or your pharmacy will have to contact your doctor for a new prescription if you need this medication refilled.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you how to place loteprednol in your eye(s).

If you wear soft contacts, you should wait 10 minutes after you use this drug before putting them in. 

If your eyes are red after using this drug, you should wait until the redness goes away, and then wait 10 more minutes before you put your contacts in. 

Do not wear contact lenses if you’re using this drug to treat your eyes after ophthalmic surgery.

Clinical monitoring

You doctor may monitor you for secondary eye infections (infections that occur during or after treatment for the first infection). Symptoms can include:

  • eye pain
  • redness
  • swelling
  • eye discharge
  • a feeling that something is in your eye 

If you’re using this drug for 10 days or longer, your doctor should check the pressure in your eyes to make sure it has not increased to an unhealthy level.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.


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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on February 5, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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