Over-The-Counter Eye Drops and Nasal Sprays: Drug Safety Communication – Serious Adverse Events From Accidental Ingestion by Children
AUDIENCE: Pediatrics, Consumer
ISSUE: FDA is warning healthcare professionals and the public that accidental ingestion by children of over-the-counter eye drops used to relieve redness and nasal decongestant sprays can result in serious and life-threatening adverse events. The eye drops and nasal sprays that have been involved in the cases of accidental ingestion contain the active ingredients tetrahydrozoline, oxymetazoline, or naphazoline. The cases of accidental ingestion reviewed by FDA occurred in children 5 years of age and younger. No deaths were reported; however, serious events requiring hospitalization such as nausea, vomiting, lethargy, tachycardia, decreased respiration, bradycardia, hypotension, hypertension, sedation, somnolence, mydriasis, stupor, hypothermia, drooling, and coma have occurred. Ingestion of only a small amount (1-2 mL; for reference, there are 5 mL in a teaspoon) of the eye drops or nasal spray can lead to serious adverse events in young children.
BACKGROUND: Most of these redness-relief eye drops and nasal decongestant sprays currently do not come packaged with child-resistant closures, so children can accidentally ingest the drug if the bottles are within easy reach. These products are sold under various brand names, as generics, and as store brands (see List of Products, included in the Drug Safety Communication, below).
RECOMMENDATION: Consumers should store these products out of reach of children at all times. If a child accidentally swallows these eye drops or nasal decongestant spray, call the National Capital Poison Center (1-800-222-1222) and seek emergency medical care immediately.
Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
- Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
- Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178
Read the MedWatch safety alert, including links to the Drug Safety Communication and Consumer Update, at: