cyclosporine, Restasis

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion

BRAND NAME: Restasis

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Restasis ophthalmic emulsion is a prescription eye drop that helps patients increase their eyes' natural ability to produce tears. It is used to treat a type of chronic dry eye condition caused by inflammation. Cyclosporine, the medicine in Restasis, is also available in oral and injectable formulations that are used to treat various conditions including treatment or prevention of rejection of transplanted organs, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Following oral administration or injection, cyclosporine is absorbed in the blood stream and works systemically to suppress the body's immune system. However, cyclosporine eye drop emulsion is thought to work differently. Restasis is believed to work locally in the eye as a partial modulator of the immune system. Tear production is thought to be decreased when lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell of the immune system, die and accumulate in the tear glands. Restasis reverses this condition, increasing tear production. Restasis does not produce its effect immediately. An increase in tear production may not be noticed until 3 to 6 months after starting treatment. Restasis ophthalmic emulsion was approved by the FDA in January, 2003.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Restasis ophthalmic emulsion 0.05% is an eye drop used increase production of tears in people with chronic dry eyes caused by inflammation associated with keratoconjuntivitis sicca. Restasis helps to increase tear production but does not work well in patients using anti-inflammatory eye drops or tear duct plugs.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effect of cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion is a temporary burning sensation in the eye. Other side effects include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/28/2015
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