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Zaditor and Alaway for Eye Allergies


Updated June 27, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Zaditor and Alaway both contain the active ingredient ketotifen, which is a topical antihistamine eye drop for the treatment of itchy eyes associated with allergic conjunctivitis. Ketotifen is also marketed under the brands Claritin Eye and Zyrtec Eye. All of these medicines are available over-the-counter without a prescription. The active ingredient is the same in all of these eye drops -- ketotifen -- which works in two different ways to treat eye allergies. Ketotifen blocks the effects of histamine and stabilizes mast cells from releasing additional allergic chemicals. Ketotifen is approved for adults and children 3 years of age and older, with the correct dose being one drop in each eye twice daily.

While some studies show that Patanol (olopatadine) is more effective at treating eye allergies than ketotifen, other studies show that many of the other antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer eye drops used to treat itchy eyes all work about the same, and are better at treating eye allergies when compared to many other over-the-counter eye drops, including Visine. Side effects of ketotifen are mild and may include eye irritation, sore throat, headache and a runny nose.

Learn more about the treatment of itchy eyes associated with eye allergy.


Brahmbhatt Y, Lee KW. OTC Products: Alaway and Zaditor. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2007 Nov-Dec;47(6):e27-8.

del Cuvillo A, Sastre J, Montoro J, et al. Allergic Conjunctivitis and H1 Antihistamines. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2009;19:S11-18.

Figus M, Fogagnolo P, Lazzeri S, et al. Treatment of Allergic Conjunctivitis: Results of a 1-Month, Single-Masked Randomized Study. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2010 Sep-Oct;20(5):811-8.

Varguez-Rodríguez ME, Hernández-López A, Gómez-Dávila Rde L. Comparison of Olopatadine and Ketotifen in the Treatment of Allergic Conjunctivitis. Rev Med Inst Mex Seguro Soc. 2009 Jul-Aug;47(4):399-404.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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