Saturday, June 11, 2011

Patanol vs Alaway (Ketotifen Fumarate) Eye Drops



In July of 2010, I wrote a piece on my experience with Medco getting my prescription for Patanol filled. The medication is a prescription antihistamine that is administered by drops to the eye.  It is prescribed for hay fever and similar allergies that cause itchy eyes.

During my struggles with Medco, my local pharmacist recommended an over-the-counter medication that he said was just as effective called ketotifen fumarate, which is sold under the brand name of Alaway but also under other brand names.


After some experience using both medications, I thought I should report back on my experience.  First, I need to insert all the necessary caveats.  I am not a medical doctor or a pharmacist.  If you need medical advice, see your family doctor, or ophthalmologist.

My experience as a patient is that both medications helped to stop my eyes from itching, however, Alaway stings when the drops are added, whereas I do not have this experience with Patanol.  If you do not mind the sting, Alaway may be fine, but I prefer the Patanol.

Update (5/31/2013):  See my subsequent post on the topic: Eye Allergies: Patanol Still the Best for Me

9 comments:

deborah conner said...

I agree with you; Alaway doesn't cause me discomfort, works well, and is about $70 cheaper than Patanol . Even with good insurance, an RX of Patanol costs $80. Alaway is sold over the counter for about $10.

Rich said...

It appears that you do not agree with me. Both medications are effective for me, but Alaway *does* cause me discomfort. With my insurance coverage, the cost to me is about equal actually.

Unknown said...

It sounded like it was brief discomfort. Maybe you could write a teaching moment about why one product retails for $26/month and the other costs $130/month (not including insurance)? You gave a case report of one working better than the other, but what about the real science of comparing the two in a double-blind study?

Rich said...

Thanks for your comment. I am lucky to have good enough insurance that Patanol only costs me $10 out of pocket. I did not give a case report of one working better than the other. In fact, I explicitly stated that they both worked for me. The discomfort of the Alaway is enough that I will continue to use Patanol. I have no doubt that the trade-off for others may vary. I am not in the profession of evaluating the efficacy of medication and make no claim to anything other than anecdotal evidence. I would recommend that any readers with allergies consult their family physician.

Constantine La said...

I like to make my eyewash at home using a boric acid eye wash solution. Way cheaper.

Topher Morton said...

I'm glad that Patanol worked for you, but it's not for everyone. A good description of the drug can be found hereat rxwiki.com/patanol.

Rich said...

Thanks for the reference.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I started off using Pataday and then tried Alaway (to compare effectiveness plus I really like that $11 OTC price). Alaway drops burn, not sting, burn every single time I put them on and are not as effective for me as Pataday (residual redness, etc.). It's been 2 weeks and I can't stand it anymore. I'm starting back on Pataday tomorrow (refill arrived today). It's a very effective solution for me (and I'm beyond grateful ... only found my way to it a couple of months ago after allergy testing and on recommendation from that dr.) I thought the two medications might be more interchangeable -- sounds like that's the case for many? Unfortunately -- they're not interchangeable for me.

Anonymous said...

Due to the cost of Patanol, I have been searching OTC eye drops, too. There was a slight sting, but something I can handle, since I found it at Big Lots for $4.00.