If you have chronic (long-term) dry eye, your doctor might suggest treatment with Xiidra or Restasis. They’re both prescription medications prescribed to treat chronic dry eye (also called dry eye disease) in adults and some children.
Both Xiidra and Restasis come as liquids in eyedrop form. Xiidra comes as a liquid solution, while Restasis comes as an emulsion (liquid mixture of oil and water).
The active ingredient in Xiidra is lifitegrast, while the active ingredient in Restasis is cyclosporine. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)
Keep reading to learn more about how Xiidra and Restasis compare.
You may wonder if Xiidra or Restasis is available as a generic.
A generic drug is an exact copy of the active ingredient in a brand-name medication. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)
To find out if Xiidra or Restasis is available as a generic, see the list below.
- Available as a generic: no
- Active ingredient: lifitegrast
- Available as a generic: yes
- Active ingredient: cyclosporine
If you’ve been prescribed Restasis and are interested in using the generic version instead, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Xiidra and Restasis are both used to treat chronic (long-term) dry eye.
To learn more about using Xiidra or Restasis to treat your condition, talk with your doctor.
Xiidra or Restasis and children
Xiidra and Restasis are both prescribed to treat chronic dry eye in some children:
- Xiidra can be used to treat this condition in children ages 17 years and older.
- Restasis can be used to treat this condition in children ages 16 years and older.
To learn more about whether Xiidra or Restasis may be treatment options for your child’s dry eye, talk with their doctor.
Here’s an overview of the dosages for Xiidra and Restasis and how you use them for treating chronic (long-term) dry eye.
Dosage for chronic dry eye
|Xiidra for chronic dry eye
|Restasis for chronic dry eye
|liquid solution eye drop in a single-use container
|emulsion (liquid mixture of oil and water) eye drop in a single-use vial or multidose bottle
|one drop in each eye
|one drop in each eye
|How often to use
|twice per day (about 12 hours apart)
|twice per day (about 12 hours apart)
It’s possible to experience side effects from using Xiidra or Restasis. Both drugs can cause similar side effects as well as different ones.
Mild side effects
Xiidra and Restasis may cause mild side effects in some people. The chart below lists examples of mild side effects that have been reported with these drugs.
|feeling as if something is in your eye
|metallic or unusual taste in your mouth
This chart may not include all mild side effects of these drugs. For more information on mild side effects of the two drugs, see the Xiidra prescribing information and Restasis prescribing information.
Serious side effects
In addition to the mild side effects described above, serious side effects may occur in people using Xiidra or Restasis. For example, both drugs may cause an allergic reaction.*
* An allergic reaction is possible after using these drugs. While this side effect wasn’t reported in studies of Xiidra or Restasis, it has occurred for both drugs since they became available.
Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Xiidra and Restasis.
Are there reasons why Restasis might be a better treatment option than Xiidra or vice versa?
If you’re prescribed Restasis or Xiidra, you may wonder whether the other drug would be more effective for you.
In fact, some people use Restasis and Xiidra together to treat dry eye. As well, American Academy of Ophthalmology guidelines recommend both drugs as treatment options for chronic (long-term) dry eye. These guidelines don’t state which drug is more effective for treating this condition.
Whether Xiidra or Restasis is more effective can vary from person to person. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your dry eye symptoms.
How does Cequa compare with Restasis and Xiidra for dry eye?
Cequa, Restasis, and Xiidra are all prescription drugs used to treat chronic dry eye. They all come as eye drops that you’ll likely use twice per day.
Cequa and Restasis both contain cyclosporine as their active ingredient, but at different strengths. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Xiidra contains the active ingredient lifitegrast.
If you’d like to learn more about treatments for dry eye and how they compare, talk with your doctor. They can describe how prescription drugs such as Restasis, Xiidra, and Cequa are alike and different. They can also provide information about over-the-counter treatments such as Systane (polyethylene glycol/propylene glycol).
What is the mechanism of action for Xiidra and Restasis?
The mechanism of action for both Xiidra and Restasis in treating chronic (long-term) dry eye is not fully understood. (Mechanism of action refers to how a drug works to treat a condition.)
It’s believed that some instances of chronic dry eye result from inflammation (damage and swelling) in the eye. Inflammation is caused by the immune system. It’s thought that Xiidra and Restasis may affect the immune system in the following ways:
- Xiidra: Xiidra attaches to a specific protein found on certain immune system cells. This blocks other immune system cells from attaching to this protein, which may help prevent inflammation.
- Restasis: Restasis sends signals that tell your immune system to stop causing inflammation in your eyes.
If you’d like to learn more about how Xiidra or Restasis works, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
You may wonder whether Xiidra and Restasis are effective at treating chronic (long-term) dry eye.
American Academy of Ophthalmology guidelines recommend both Restasis and Xiidra as treatment options for chronic dry eye. These guidelines don’t indicate which drug may be better for treating this condition.
Studies for both drugs also found them to be effective for treating this condition. If you’d like to read more about how each drug performed in studies, see the prescribing information for Xiidra and Restasis.
Your doctor or pharmacist can also tell you more about the effectiveness of Xiidra and Restasis for treating chronic dry eye.
Whether you have health insurance or not, cost may be a factor when you’re considering these drugs. Visit Optum Perks to get price estimates for Xiidra and Restasis when you use coupons from the site. It’s important to note that Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with any insurance copays or benefits.
Keep in mind that what you’ll pay for either drug will depend on your treatment plan and health insurance, as well as the pharmacy you use.
Xiidra and Restasis are both brand-name drugs. Restasis is also available as a generic drug, but Xiidra is not. You’ll usually pay more for brand-name drugs than for generics. If you’re interested in using the generic form of Restasis, talk with your doctor.
Xiidra and Restasis may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. These may be referred to as warnings.
The two drugs share some of the same warnings, but they also have different ones. Some of these warnings are mentioned below. Before you start using Xiidra or Restasis, be sure to talk with your doctor to see whether these warnings apply to you.
- Warnings for both Xiidra and Restasis:
- if you’ve had an allergic reaction to either drug or any of its ingredients
- if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- if you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed
- if you wear contact lenses
The short answer: Yes.
Details: Neither Xiidra nor Restasis are known to cause withdrawal symptoms. These are symptoms that may appear when you stop taking a drug your body is dependent on. (With drug dependence, your body needs a drug to function as usual.) If your doctor says that it’s fine for you to switch from one medication to the other, you should be able to do so right away.
Reminder: You shouldn’t switch drugs or stop your current treatment unless your doctor recommends it. Talk with your doctor if you’re prescribed either Xiidra or Restasis and are interested in switching to the other medication.
Xiidra and Restasis are similar medications prescribed to treat chronic (long-term) dry eye. They both come as eye drops that you use twice per day. While Xiidra and Restasis can cause many similar side effects, they can cause a few different mild ones too. But overall, these two drugs don’t have many key differences.
To find out more about how Xiidra and Restasis compare, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Ask questions that help you find out whether one or the other is better for your condition. Here are some examples to get you started:
- Are there any reasons why I shouldn’t use either Xiidra or Restasis?
- Can you tell me more about why Xiidra or Restasis may be a better choice for me, based on my medical history and treatment goals?
- If I use Xiidra or Restasis and have side effects, can I try the other drug?
To learn more about Xiidra, see these articles:
For more information about Restasis, see these articles:
- All About Restasis
- Restasis and Cost: What You Need to Know
- Side Effects of Restasis: What You Need to Know
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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.