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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Hallucinations, confusion, extreme sleepiness, heart palpitations. Call your doctor immediately.
Common

Blurred vision, increased sensitivity of eyes to light.
Less Common

Eye crusting or drainage, itching and redness of the eye, swelling within the eye, eye pain, dry eyes, dry skin, dry mouth, irritability, agitation, flushing, fever.
Atropine Sulfate Ophthalmic


Drug Class:
Eye muscle relaxant, pupil enlarger

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Ophthalmic solution, ointment

Why Prescribed
Used for eye examinations, before and after eye surgery, and to treat certain types of eye conditions, including uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, or the central portion of the eye) and posterior synechiae (a potentially blinding eye disorder). May also be used to help determine the proper prescription for eyeglasses in young children.

How It Works
Atropine sulfate relaxes the ciliary muscle, which controls the shape of the eye's lens as it focuses, and another eye muscle called the sphincter, which controls the narrowing and widening of the pupil. Relaxation of these muscles prevents the lens from focusing and widens the pupil. This allows the doctor to view the interior structures of the eye during an ophthalmologic procedure. And, by immobilizing the tiny structures within the eye, the drug prevents scarring of eye tissue and may also alleviate pain somewhat.

Range and Frequency
For eye examination-- Adults: Dose to be determined by your doctor. Children: Ophthalmic solution: 1 drop in the eye twice a day for 2 days before the examination. Ointment: A thin strip of ointment applied to the eye 3 times a day for up to 3 days before the examination. For uveitis-- Adults: 1 drop in the eye or a thin strip of ointment applied to the eye 1 to 4 times a day. Children: 1 drop in the eye or a thin strip of ointment applied to the eye up to 3 times a day.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
From six to 12 days. The drug's effect on the lens's ability to focus may last longer than its effect on the size of the pupil.

Dietary Advice
No special restrictions.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Missed Dose
If you miss a dose, apply the missed dose as soon as possible unless it is almost time for the next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
The decision to stop using the drug should be made by your doctor.

Prolonged Use
Call your doctor if symptoms persist for more than 14 days.

Over 60
Sleepiness and agitation are more likely.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Avoid such activities until temporary blurring of vision goes away.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Adequate human studies have not been done. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy.

Breast Feeding
Small amounts of this drug may pass into breast milk; extreme caution is advised. Infants exposed to atropine may exhibit a rapid pulse, fever, or dry skin.

Infants and Children
Infants, young children, and children with blond hair or blue eyes may be more sensitive to the effects of this drug and may have an increased risk of side effects. Use with extreme caution in these groups.

Special Concerns
Before administering the drug, wash your hands. Tilt your head back. Gently apply pressure to the inside corner of the eyelid and pull downward on the lower eyelid to make a space. Drop the medicine or put about 1/3 inch of ointment into this space and close your eye. Apply pressure for one or two minutes while the eye is closed. Wash your hands again. Make sure the tip of the applicator does not touch any other surface.

Overdose Symptoms
Impaired vision, extreme sensitivity to light, confusion, clumsiness, dizziness, hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, extreme drowsiness or weakness, unusual dry skin or mouth.

What to Do
Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor if you use tranquilizers, drugs for glaucoma or myasthenia gravis, or any other eye drops or medications.

Food Interactions
None expected.

Disease Interactions
Do not use if you have glaucoma, especially closed-angle glaucoma, without consulting your doctor. The drug may increase abdominal pain in gastrointestinal disorders.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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