(al-kaff-ta-deen) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: ocular agents
Pharmacologic: antihistamines
Pregnancy Category: B


Prevention of itching associated with allergic conjunctivitis.


Antagonizes the effects of histamine at H1 receptor sites in the eye; does not bind or inactivate histamine.
Also decreases histamine release from mast cells.

Therapeutic effects

Decreased symptoms of histamine excess including itching, redness, tearing.


Absorption: Minimal systemic absorption follows ophthalmic use.
Distribution: Unknown.
Metabolism and Excretion: Some conversion to an active carboxylic acid metabolite, which is excreted unchanged by the kidneys.
Half-life: 2 hr (carboxylic acid metabolite).

Time/action profile (antihistaminic effect)

ophth3 minunknown16 hr


Contraindicated in: None noted.
Use Cautiously in: Contact lens should not be worn if redness occurs; Obstetric: Use during pregnancy only if clearly needed; Lactation: Use cautiously if breast-feeding; Pediatric: Safe and effective use in children <2 yr has not been established.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • headache

Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat

  • eye irritation/burning/stinging/itching
  • nasopharyngitis


Drug-Drug interaction

None noted.


Oral (Adults) One drop in each eye once daily.


Ophthalmic solution: 0.25%

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess signs and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis (redness, itching, watering) periodically during therapy.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Deficient knowledge, related to medication regimen (Patient/Family Teaching)


  • Ophthalmic: Instill 1 drop into affected eyes twice daily. See for administration guidelines.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to instill alcaftadine drops as directed. Do not touch dropper to eye or to any surface.
  • Advise patient to remove contact lens prior to instillation. Do not use alcaftadine for treatment of irritation related to contact lens. Do not wear contact lens if eyes are red. Contact lens may be reinserted 10 min following instillation.
  • Advise female patient to notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or suspected or if breastfeeding.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Decrease in ocular itching due to allergic conjunctivitis.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
The pharmacologic agents that are available as ophthalmic solutions, used in the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis belong to diverse classes: (1) Antihistamines - which block H1 receptors, e.g., levocabastine, azelastine, emedastine, bepotastine, and alcaftadine; (2) Mast cell stabilizers - which increase the calcium influx to the mast cell and prevent changes in the membrane permeability resulting in the stability of membrane decreasing degranulation of mast cells, [6] e.g.
The four ophthalmic agents in this class are alcaftadine (Lastacaft), azelastine (Optivar), emedastine (Emadine), and epinastine (Elestat).
An ophthalmic formulation, alcaftadine (Lastacaft; B) is used for itching associated with allergic conjunctivitis.