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IUPAC name
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.001.384
Molar mass 200.28 g/mol
R01AA06 (WHO) S01GA02 (WHO)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Tetryzoline (INN;[1] also known as tetrahydrozoline), a derivative of imidazoline, is found in over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays. Other derivatives include naphazoline, oxymetazoline, and xylometazoline.

Tetrahydrozoline is an alpha agonist and its main mechanism of action is the constriction of conjunctival blood vessels.[2] This serves to relieve the redness of the eye caused by minor ocular irritants. To treat allergic conjunctivitis, tetryzoline can be combined in a solution with antazoline.[3]

An urban legend suggests that tetrahydrozoline can cause violent diarrhea if administered orally, such as by putting a few drops of Visine in an unsuspecting person's beverage. However, the actual results of the prank may be worse, varying from severe nausea and vomiting to seizures or a coma. Diarrhea is not a side effect.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

Tetrahydrozoline was used as a plot device in the 1990 film The Spirit of '76. Time travelers from the year 2176, where tetrahydrozoline is a rare commodity, have traveled back to 1976 and have to use tetrahydrozoline eye drops, a common item in 1976, as part of a battery in a time machine in order to return to the future.

The 2005 film Wedding Crashers includes the use of eye drops containing tetrahydrozoline to poison a person's drink.


  1. ^ "International Non-Proprietary Names for Pharmaceutical Preparations. Recommended International Non-Proprietary Names: List 3" (PDF). World Health Organization. p. 474. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Dahlström M, Lindgren F, Berntsson K, et al. (July 2005). "Evidence for different pharmacological targets for imidazoline compounds inhibiting settlement of the barnacle Balanus improvisus". J. Exp. Zoolog. Part a Comp. Exp. Biol. 303 (7): 551–62. doi:10.1002/jez.a.163. PMID 15945078. 
  3. ^ Castillo M, Scott NW, Mustafa MZ, Mustafa MS, Azuara-Blanco A (2015). "Topical antihistamines and mast cell stabilisers for treating seasonal and perennial allergic conjunctivitis". Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 6: CD009566. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009566.pub2. PMID 26028608. 
  4. ^ "Visine Prank: Mickey Red Eyes". Snopes. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2010.