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What is Proparacaine HCl Used For?

written by: NoreenK•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 10/29/2009

Proparacaine HCl is a local topical eye anesthetic important for use during and after eye surgery such as laser eye treatments.

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    What is Proparacaine HCl Used For?

    The medicine Proparacaine Hydrochloride (HCl) is a local anesthetic used to prevent pain during eye exams or eye surgery. It is commonly sold under the brand name Alcaine in the form of liquid eye drops. It may also be used to alleviate pain after laser eye surgery and other treatments to the eyes. This topical ophthalmic anesthetic is also used for short term relief from corneal burns and corneal abrasions.

    Proparacaine HCl begins working within 30 seconds and lasts for a duration of 10 to 15 minutes. The drug actions is a rapid, brief superficial block of sensory nerve impulses to the eye. Drops are placed directly on the eye. Adults require 1 to 3 drops and a pediatric dose is 1 to 2 drops.

    This medicine is usually administered at a doctor's office, hospital, or clinic and is used only for treatment purposes for short durations. The medication should be stored l in the refrigerator between 36 and 46 degrees F (or 2 to 8 degrees C).

    Possible side effects of include burning, stinging, redness, or other mild eye irritation. Severe side effects such as excessive eye watering, itching, pain, redness, or swelling of eye or eyelid should be reported to a doctor immediately.

    Pregnant and nursing women should not use this medication as it is not known if this medication is excreted in the breast milk. This medication should not be ingested. Symptoms of overdose include drowsiness, trouble breathing, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, nervousness, irregular heartbeat, and abnormal tiredness or weakness.

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    Precautions

    • Inform your doctor of your medical history, especially of other eye problems such as cataracts and infections, allergies, particularly drug allergies.
    • Prolonged use of eye anesthetics is not recommended; doing so could cause permanent eye problems such as corneal opacities or loss of vision.
    • Proparacaine HCl should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy.
    • Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
    • Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
    • To prevent potentially harmful drug interactions, inform your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription medication you are currently using, especially of other eye medications (drops or ointments).
    • Do not begin, stop or change the dosage of any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval. If a dose is missed, contact your doctor or pharmacist to establish a new dosing schedule.