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Atropine Ophthalmic Solution

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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  • Atropine is a drug used topically to relieve pain and spasm of the iris caused by corneal ulcers, uveitis (inflammation inside the eye) and other painful conditions of the eye.
  • Atropine belongs to a class of drugs known as anticholinergic or parasympatholytic agents. Other related drugs in this class include scopolamine and isopropamide.
  • Atropine acts on the parasympathetic nervous system. The drug blocks the transmission of acetylcholine, a chemical that excites or inhibits certain activities, such as pupil dilation and constriction. The effect of atropine is to paralyze the sphincter muscle of the iris of the eye, which results in dilation of the pupil.
  • Atropine is very potent, with effects lasting 5 to 7 days in some animals.
  • Atropine is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in both animals and humans.
  • Human formulations: Atropine Care® (Akorn), Atropine 1% sterile ophthalmic solution® (Medical Ophthalmics), Atropine 1% sterile ophthalmic solution USP® (Bausch & Lomb), Atropine sulfate sterile ophthalmic ointment 1%® (Bausch & Lomb), and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: Various generic preparations

    Uses of Atropine

  • It is used topically to relieve pain and spasm of the iris.
  • It is used to dilate the pupil before and after certain ocular surgical procedures, such as removal of the lens.
  • It is used to dilate the pupil when the interior of the eye is inflamed.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, atropine can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Atropine should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Atropine should not be used in animals with glaucoma, or in animals predisposed to glaucoma.
  • Atropine should not be used in cases of lens luxation (when the lens separates from its attachments within the eye).
  • Repeated use can cause a substantial decrease in tear production.
  • Atropine may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is taking could interact with atropine.
  • Atropine solution is poorly tolerated in cats and some dogs. It has a bitter taste, and if the medication drains into the mouth, it may result in profuse salivation.

    How Atropine Is Supplied

  • Atropine sulfate is available as a 1% solution in 2 ml, 5 ml and 15 ml bottles, and as a 1% ointment in a 3.5 gram tube.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Dosing frequency for atropine is highly variable, depending upon the desired degree of pupil dilation and the responsiveness of the iris. The more inflammation present, the more resistant the iris is to dilation.
  • For mild to moderate corneal ulcers and anterior uveitis, the drug may be given 1 to 3 times daily.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects.

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