Generic Name: polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic

Brand and Other Names: Systane Gel Drops, Systane Preservative-Free, Systane Ultra Preservative-Free, Systane Lubricant Eye Drops, Systane Ultra

Drug Class: Ophthalmic Lubricants

What is polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic, and what is it used for?

Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic is a type of artificial tears used to treat symptoms of dry eyes.

Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops are applied topically on the eyes for the temporary relief of irritation and burning from dry eyes, but they do not cure the underlying condition causing dry eye.

Eyes are naturally covered by a fluid film of tear composed of three layers, a mucous (mucin) inner layer, a watery (aqueous) middle layer and a fatty (lipid) outer layer. The tear film protects the eye from the environment and gets rid of irritants, lubricates and provides nutrients to the eye surface, and maintains a smooth eye surface for light refraction. Dry eyes may result from impaired tear production and/or excessive evaporation of natural tears due to aging, medical conditions, dietary deficiencies, or environmental factors.

Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic drops add volume to the tear film and restructure the tear film by forming a protective gel matrix. This reduces tear drainage and evaporation, and keeps the eyes moist. Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic formulations are available over-the-counter (OTC) in multi-dose vials that contain preservatives, and single-dose preservative-free eye drops that are usually more expensive.

Warnings

  • Do not use polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic drops if you are hypersensitive to any of the components in the formulation.
  • Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic contains propylene glycol, which may be toxic when administered in large amounts, particularly in newborn babies. Use with caution.

What are the side effects of polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic?

Common side effects of polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic drops include:

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

QUESTION

What causes dry eyes? See Answer

What are the dosages of polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic?

Polyethylene Glycol 400/Propylene Glycol

Ophthalmic Drops

  • 0.4%/0.3%

Adult:

Dry Eyes

  • Shake well before use
  • Instill 1-2 drop(s) in affected eye(s) as needed

Pediatric:

  • Safety and efficacy not established

Overdose

  • Overuse of polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops can wash away natural tears and worsen the symptoms of dry eyes. Too much use may also mask serious underlying ocular problems.
  • Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops are for topical ophthalmic use only. Oral overdose is likely to be toxic. Treatment of overdose may involve symptomatic care.

What drugs interact with polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

  • Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic has no known severe, serious, moderate or mild interactions with other drugs.

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • Using recommended doses of preservative-free polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops to treat dry eyes in pregnant or breastfeeding women is likely safe.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before you use any OTC eye drops if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What else should I know about polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic?

  • Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops are used only for the temporary relief of dry eye symptoms, and they do not cure the underlying cause. Seek medical evaluation and appropriate treatment from an ophthalmologist if you have persistent dry eyes.
  • Use polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops exactly as per instruction.
  • Discard the solution if it becomes cloudy or changes color.
  • Prevent contamination by not touching the tip of the vial to any surface.
  • If you self-medicate with OTC polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops, stop use and seek medical help if symptoms don’t resolve within a couple of days or if you experience any of the following:
    • Changes in vision
    • Eye pain
    • Continued irritation and/or redness
    • Persistence or worsening of symptoms
  • Store polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops safely out of reach of children.
  • Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops can be toxic if orally ingested. In case of accidental ingestion, seek medical help immediately or contact Poison Control.

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Summary

Polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic is a type of artificial tears used to treat the irritation and burning caused by dry eyes. Common side effects of polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol ophthalmic drops include eye irritation, temporary blurred vision, and mild burning or stinging. Use as indicated. Overuse of polyethylene glycol 400/propylene glycol eye drops can wash away natural tears and worsen the symptoms of dry eyes.

Treatment & Diagnosis

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Medically Reviewed on 9/12/2022
References
REFERENCES:

https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_systane/drugs-condition.htm

https://reference.medscape.com/drug/systane-gel-drops-systane-ultra-polyethylene-glycol-400-propylene-glycol-ophthalmic-999733

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3130915/

https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=0537c23a-15f7-be64-1231-a6c93468e9a8

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-151252/systane-ultra-ophthalmic-eye/details

https://www.visionboston.com/why-is-it-risky-to-overuse-eye-drops/

https://atlanticeyeinstitute.com/dry-eyes-during-pregnancy/