There are estimates of 16 million dry eye patients in the United States that report symptoms to eye care professionals. For these patients, good news in the form of Xiidra could not have come sooner. Manufactured by Shire, Xiidra, aka lifitigrast opthhalmic solution, a lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 antagonist, was approved by the FDA for dry eye disease, on July 11, 2016.
This is exciting news in the world of dry eye treatment. Since 2005 Restasis, aka cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion, (Allergan) was the only prescription solution available in the US to our dry eye patients. Twelve years in the making, Xiidra is a new alternative to patients sensitive to Restasis, and who do not get complete relief from punctal plugs or frequently used artificial tears and other lubricants.
The drug’s safety and efficacy were assessed in more than 2,500 patients in four separate, randomized controlled studies. The results of the studies found that patients treated with Xiidra demonstrated improvement in their signs and symptoms of dry eye compared with patients treated with placebo.
Since FDA approval I have seen patients benefiting from Xiidra use. When used twice daily, relief is felt two weeks after medication is started. The only side effect that has been reported by the studies and my patients is a transient metallic taste after the drop is placed in the eye. This fades with time and is less notable after persistent medication use.
I am excited to see my patients using Xiidra long term and fighting the chronic inflammatory nature of the dry eye disease. Currently first month supply is provided for free by the manufacturer given doctor's prescription. Ask our office about your dry eye relief.