Restasis vs Xiidra: Here’s What You Need To Know

Restasis vs Xiidra - Here's What You Need To Know

If you’ve been diagnosed with dry eye disease (also known as dry eye syndrome), you may be wondering…

“Is there a prescription medication that can help improve my symptoms?”

I’m happy to tell you, the answer is YES! In fact, there are now two FDA approved prescription medications that your eye doctor can use to treat your dry eye disease. One is called Restasis® and the other is called Xiidra®. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two. 

Note: At this time there is not a generic version of Restasis® or Xiidra®.

Restasis 30 single-use vials


The first one is Restasis®, (pronounced Re-stay-sis). This medication contains cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion. It was FDA approved in 2002 to treat dry eye disease and millions of prescriptions have been written since. Restasis® has an anti-inflammatory effect and works to increase tear production and reduce the inflammation that is present in patients with dry eye disease.

Let’s address some common questions I receive from patients.

How often do I take it?

Restasis® is a preservative-free eye drop that is used twice a day in each eye approximately 12 hours apart. Also, it’s important to note this eye drop should not be used while wearing contact lenses. Instead, wait 15 minutes after using Restasis® before you put in your contacts 

Do I need to take it forever?

In most cases, yes. Dry eye disease is a chronic disease. Therefore, when the medication is stopped, symptoms of this disease often return.

What are the side effects?

The most common side effect patients notice is burning when putting in the drop (17%). In addition, patients occasionally experience redness and blurry vision (1-5%).

How does it work?

Restasis® is an immunosuppressive medication that works to increase tear production and reduce the inflammation that is often present in dry eye syndrome.

How long does it take to work?

The typical patient notices an improvement in symptoms after three months of use.

Tell me about the clinical trials.

There were four multi-center, randomized, clinical studies performed on approximately 1,200 patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome. In these studies, Restasis® showed significant improvement in tear production after 6 months of use.

Related: “The Truth About Artificial Tears and Dry Eye Disease” 

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