If you have a certain kind of eye problem, your doctor may prescribe Lotemax or Lotemax SM for you.

Lotemax and Lotemax SM are prescription drugs. They’re used to treat eye pain and inflammation (swelling or damage) in certain situations, such as after eye surgery.

Both Lotemax and Lotemax SM are approved for use in adults. One form of Lotemax (the eye gel) is also used in children.

To learn more about the uses of these drugs, see the “What are Lotemax and Lotemax SM used for?” section below.

Lotemax and Lotemax SM basics

Lotemax and Lotemax SM belong to a group of drugs called corticosteroids, which are a kind of steroid. Both drugs contain the active ingredient loteprednol. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)

Lotemax comes in three forms:

  • Lotemax eye drops
  • Lotemax eye ointment
  • Lotemax eye gel

Lotemax SM comes as an eye gel.

Lotemax eye drops and Lotemax eye gel are available in generic versions. Lotemax eye ointment and Lotemax SM are not available in a generic form.

Keep reading to learn more about Lotemax and Lotemax SM, including their side effects, uses, and more.

Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use.

Lotemax eye drops are available as the generic drug loteprednol eye drops. And Lotemax eye gel is available as the generic drug loteprednol eye gel. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs. Talk with your doctor if you’d like to know about using generic loteprednol eye drops or eye gel.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. The Bausch + Lomb Access Program also be available.

You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.

Like most drugs, Lotemax and Lotemax SM may cause mild or serious side effects.

The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Lotemax and Lotemax SM may cause. Side effects might differ slightly among the different forms of Lotemax and Lotemax SM. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Lotemax and Lotemax SM. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a list of some of the mild side effects that Lotemax and Lotemax SM can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read the prescribing information for Lotemax eye drops, Lotemax eye ointment, Lotemax eye gel, or Lotemax SM.

Mild side effects of Lotemax and Lotemax SM that have been reported include:

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Lotemax and Lotemax SM can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from one of these drugs, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Lotemax and Lotemax SM that have been reported include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Lotemax and Lotemax SM. Allergic reaction wasn’t reported in studies of Lotemax eye drops, Lotemax eye ointment, Lotemax eye gel, or Lotemax SM. But this side effect can still happen.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Lotemax or Lotemax SM. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

If you have a certain kind of eye problem, your doctor may prescribe Lotemax or Lotemax SM for you.

Keep reading to learn more about the conditions these drugs are used to treat.

Use for pain and inflammation after eye surgery

Lotemax and Lotemax SM are used in adults to treat pain and inflammation (swelling) after eye surgery. Lotemax eye gel is also used for this purpose in children of any age. (To learn more about the forms of each drug, see “What are the dosages of Lotemax and Lotemax SM?” below.)

You may have eye surgery for a variety of eye conditions. For example, your doctor may recommend eye surgery to improve your vision, treat cataracts, or treat glaucoma. Your doctor can prescribe Lotemax or Lotemax SM to help reduce eye swelling or relieve eye pain you may have after eye surgery.

Use for certain other eye conditions

Lotemax eye drops are used in adults to treat certain kinds of eye inflammation not related to eye surgery. But other forms of Lotemax and Lotemax SM are not approved for this use. (To learn more about the forms of Lotemax and Lotemax SM, see “What are the dosages of Lotemax and Lotemax SM?” below.)

Below are examples of eye conditions Lotemax eye drops may be used to treat:

  • ocular rosacea (a kind of rosacea that affects your eyes)
  • iritis (inflammation of your iris, which is the colored part of your eye)
  • cyclitis (inflammation of the muscles behind the iris of your eye)
  • keratitis (inflammation of your cornea, which is the front part of your eye)
  • pink eye related to infection or allergies

Your doctor can prescribe Lotemax or Lotemax SM to help reduce eye swelling. This may help relieve symptoms of your condition.

Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Lotemax and Lotemax SM.

What should I know about alternatives to Lotemax and Lotemax SM, such as Alrex or prednisolone?

Lotemax and Lotemax SM are used to treat eye pain and inflammation in certain situations. Several alternatives to Lotemax and Lotemax SM are available.

Lotemax and Lotemax SM belong to a group of drugs called corticosteroids. Other corticosteroids may also be used to treat eye inflammation. Examples include:

  • loteprednol (Alrex, Eysuvis, Inveltys)
  • prednisolone (Omnipred, Pred forte, Pred Mild)
  • dexamethasone (Dextenza, Maxidex)

To learn more about alternatives to Lotemax and Lotemax SM, talk with your doctor. They can recommend the right treatment option for you.

Can I use Lotemax or Lotemax SM to treat dry eye?

It’s not likely. Lotemax and Lotemax SM aren’t approved to treat dry eye.

Loteprednol is the active drug in Lotemax. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) A different brand-name version of loteprednol, called Eysuvis, is approved to treat dry eye. But Lotemax and Lotemax SM are not approved to treat dry eye. These drugs are only approved to treat eye pain and inflammation in certain situations, such as after eye surgery.

In some cases, doctors may prescribe Lotemax and Lotemax SM off-label to treat dry eye. (With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.)

To learn more about treatment options for dry eye, talk with your doctor.

Could using Lotemax or Lotemax SM make my eye condition worse?

Lotemax and Lotemax SM are used to treat eye pain and inflammation in certain situations, such as after eye surgery.

Lotemax and Lotemax SM should not worsen the actual cause of your eye pain or inflammation. But these drugs can temporarily cause side effects that may be similar to symptoms of the condition you’re using them to treat. For example, these drugs may cause temporary eye pain or eye inflammation.

It’s likely these side effects will occur less often as your eyes get used to the drug. But tell your doctor if you have long lasting or worsened eye pain or inflammation while using Lotemax or Lotemax SM. Tell them if these symptoms have not eased after using the drugs for a couple of days. Your doctor may have you switch to a different treatment option instead.

Can Lotemax and Lotemax SM treat a stye?

No, Lotemax and Lotemax SM aren’t used to treat a stye. These medications are used to treat eye pain and inflammation in certain situations, such as after eye surgery.

A stye is a discolored, painful bump that forms on your eyelid. It’s often the result of an infection in your eyelid. While a stye may cause eye pain and inflammation, it usually goes away on its own.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic for the stye. But Lotemax and Lotemax SM are not antibiotics.

If you have a stye, talk with your doctor. They can tell you whether treatment is needed. If so, they’ll recommend the right treatment for your stye.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Lotemax or Lotemax SM that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always use the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Forms and strengths

Lotemax comes in several forms, all with a strength of 0.5%:

  • Lotemax eye drops
  • Lotemax eye ointment
  • Lotemax eye gel

Lotemax SM comes as an eye gel in a strength of 0.38%.

Recommended dosages

Below is information about the usual dosages of Lotemax and Lotemax SM.

Dosage for pain and inflammation after eye surgery

Lotemax and Lotemax SM are used to treat pain and inflammation after eye surgery. See the table below for dosage details.

DrugUsual doseHow often it’s used
Lotemax eye drops1 or 2 drops in the affected eyefour times daily for 2 weeks, starting the day after surgery
Lotemax eye ointmentabout ½-inch ribbon of ointment in the affected eyefour times daily for 2 weeks, starting the day after surgery
Lotemax eye gel1 or 2 drops in the affected eyefour times daily for 2 weeks, starting the day after surgery
Lotemax SM1 drop in the affected eyethree times daily for 2 weeks, starting the day after surgery

Dosage for certain other eye conditions

Lotemax eye drops are used for certain kinds of eye inflammation. For details about these conditions, see “What are Lotemax and Lotemax SM used for?” above.

For this purpose, you’ll use one or two drops of Lotemax eye drops in the affected eye. You’ll use this amount four times per day for as long as your doctor recommends it.

To learn more about Lotemax and Lotemax SM’s dosages, see this article.

Questions about Lotemax and Lotemax SM’s dosing

Below are some common questions about Lotemax and Lotemax SM’s dosing.

  • How long does Lotemax and Lotemax SM take to work? Lotemax and Lotemax SM start working as soon as you use them. But it may take several days for the symptoms of your condition to ease. If you have questions about what to expect with Lotemax or Lotemax SM treatment, talk with your doctor.
  • What if I miss a dose of Lotemax or Lotemax SM? If you miss a dose of Lotemax or Lotemax SM, talk with your doctor. They’ll tell you whether to skip the missed dose or administer it. You should not administer two doses of Lotemax at once to make up for a missed dose. Doing so can raise your risk of side effects.
  • Will I need to use Lotemax or Lotemax SM long term? No, you likely won’t use Lotemax or Lotemax SM long term. You’ll likely use these drugs for the short-term relief of pain and inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe Lotemax or Lotemax SM for up to 2 weeks.

Your doctor will explain how you should use Lotemax or Lotemax SM. They’ll also explain how much to use and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Using Lotemax and Lotemax SM

Lotemax is available as eye drops, eye ointment, and eye gel. Lotemax SM comes as an eye gel. Your doctor will show you how to use the form you’re prescribed.

It’s recommended that you avoid wearing contact lenses during treatment with Lotemax or Lotemax SM. If you wear contact lenses, talk with your doctor before starting treatment.

To view tips for using these medications, see these articles about applying eye drops and eye ointment.

Accessible medication containers and labels

If it’s hard for you to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies may provide medication labels that:

  • have large print
  • use braille
  • contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text into audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that offers these options if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Lotemax and Lotemax SM and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Lotemax and Lotemax SM affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Some important things to discuss with your doctor when considering treatment with Lotemax or Lotemax SM include:

  • your overall health
  • any medical conditions you may have
  • other medications you take

These and other considerations to discuss with your doctor are described below.

Interactions

There currently aren’t any medications or supplements known to interact with Lotemax or Lotemax SM. But this doesn’t mean drug interactions with Lotemax or Lotemax SM won’t be recognized in the future. For example, new medications may be approved that interact with Lotemax or Lotemax SM.

For this reason, you should still tell your doctor and pharmacist about any medications you take besides Lotemax or Lotemax SM. This way, they can check for any new interactions during your treatment.

Warnings

Lotemax and Lotemax SM can sometimes cause harmful effects in people who have certain conditions. This is known as a drug-condition interaction. Other factors may also affect whether Lotemax or Lotemax SM is a good treatment option for you.

Talk with your doctor about your health history before you use Lotemax or Lotemax SM. Factors to consider include those described below.

Glaucoma. Using Lotemax or Lotemax SM for 10 days or longer could increase the pressure in your eye. This increased pressure could lead to new or worsened glaucoma.

If you have glaucoma, be sure to tell your doctor before using Lotemax or Lotemax SM. They can determine whether these medications are right for you.

Eye infection. Using Lotemax or Lotemax SM could cause a new or worsened eye infection. If you already have an eye infection, your doctor may not prescribe Lotemax or Lotemax SM for you. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

Eye problems that cause thinning of the sclera or cornea. Before using Lotemax or Lotemax SM, tell your doctor if you have eye problems that cause thinning of the sclera or cornea.

Examples of conditions that may cause thinning of these structures include long-term scleritis and keratoconus. Using Lotemax or Lotemax SM with these conditions could increase your risk of a tear in your sclera or cornea.

Your doctor can determine whether Lotemax or Lotemax SM is the right treatment option for you.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Lotemax, Lotemax SM, or any of their ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe these drugs. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.

Wear contact lenses. It’s recommended that you avoid wearing contact lenses during treatment with Lotemax or Lotemax SM. If you wear contact lenses, talk with your doctor before starting treatment.

Lotemax and Lotemax SM and alcohol

It should be safe to drink alcohol during treatment with Lotemax or Lotemax SM.

If you have questions about drinking alcohol while using either of these drugs, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It’s not known whether Lotemax and Lotemax SM are safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Lotemax and Lotemax SM are put directly into your eyes. For this reason, they’re not expected to be absorbed by the rest of your body (they only affect your eyes). For this reason, it’s likely that Lotemax and Lotemax SM would be safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

But if you’re pregnant, talk with your doctor before using Lotemax or Lotemax SM.

Do not use more Lotemax or Lotemax SM than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

What to do in case you use too much Lotemax or Lotemax SM

Call your doctor if you think you’ve used too much Lotemax or Lotemax SM. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you have questions about using Lotemax or Lotemax SM, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Questions you may want to ask include:

  • Can I switch from Lotemax to Lotemax SM or vice versa?
  • Can I take other medications that treat eye pain or inflammation while using Lotemax or Lotemax SM?
  • Are reviews available from people who’ve used Lotemax and Lotemax SM?

To learn more about Lotemax and Lotemax SM, see these articles:

To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.

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 another 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.