Xiidra side effects and how to avoid them

Xiidra is an FDA-approved brand-name medication manufactured by Novartis and used to treat dry eye syndrome. While Xiidra is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Xiidra include eye irritation and blurred vision. Less common but more serious side effects can include serious allergic reactions.

Learn more about the side effects of Xiidra and what you can do to avoid them.

What is Xiidra (lifitegrast)?

Xiidra (lifitegrast ophthalmic solution) is a lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) antagonist used to treat the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease (DED) in adults. With dry eye disease, you do not make enough tears, causing discomfort, burning, pain in your eyes, or blurry vision.

Exactly how Xiidra works for dry eye disease is not known but is thought to work on your immune system by blocking a specific protein (LFA-1) from attaching to certain cells. This helps reduce inflammation and increase tear production in those with chronic dry eyes.

More information on What is Xiidra

What is the most common side effect of Xiidra?

The most common possible side effects of Xiidra include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Eye discomfort
  • Blurred vision or other changes in vision
  • Eye redness
  • Unusual taste sensation (dysgeusia)
  • Headache
  • Increased tear production
  • Sinus infection

Xiidra can cause more serious side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the face or throat, and difficulty breathing)

If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Xiidra and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report the negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

What are the long-term side effects of Xiidra?

Long-term side effects of Xiidra include blurry vision, headache, eye irritation, dysgeusia (change in taste), red eyes, sinusitis (sinus infection), and watery eyes.

Does Xiidra have any side effects for pregnant women?

There is no data on the use of Xiidra in pregnant women or if it is found in breast milk during lactation. Since it is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, the unborn baby or breastfed infant will more than likely not be exposed to the medication. Discuss the risks and benefits of using Xiidra with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

How often should you take Xiidra?

Xiidra is available as a preservative-free ophthalmic solution in the following doses: 5% (50 mg/mL). Use Xiidra in the affected eye(s) twice daily as directed by your doctor. To apply the eye drops, wash your hands thoroughly first. Do not allow the tip of the single-use container to touch your eye to prevent the risk of infection.

Do not use Xiidra eye drops if you wear contact lenses, and wait at least 15 minutes after using the eye drops before putting in your contact lenses. You may continue to use artificial tears with Xiidra if you need to do so. If you forget to use Xiidra, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose, and use your next dose at the normal time. Your healthcare provider may prescribe Restasis (cyclosporine) with Xiidra to help treat your dry eye syndrome.

Store Xiidra at room temperature away from heat, light, or moisture, and keep Xiidra in its original foil pouch until you are ready to use it.

Please read the prescribing information and drug information, and always speak with your eye doctor for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.

Xiidra drug interactions

Xiidra and Restasis can interact with other prescription medications. This can change how Xiidra and Restasis, and other medications work and can make side effects more likely. Tell your prescribing physician about all your drugs, including over-the-counter (OTC), vitamins, and dietary supplements.

Who should not use Xiidra?

You should not use Xiidra if you:

  • Have known hypersensitivity to the active ingredient lifitegrast
  • Have had an allergic reaction to any of the other ingredients in Xiidra

Talk to your doctor before using Xiidra if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Xiidra
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed – It is not known whether lifitegrast ophthalmic passes into breast milk

You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Xiidra, to make sure it is safe for you.

Can you just stop taking Xiidra?

Do not stop using Xiidra without speaking to your doctor first. If you stop using Xiidra, dryness in your eyes may come back.

How long can you stay on Xiidra?

You should continue to use Xiidra for as long as your doctor prescribes it, as long as you are not suffering from any serious side effects. It should be noted that the safety of using Xiidra 12 months or longer isn’t known.

Does Xiidra cause a bad taste?

In clinical studies of Xiidra, patients reported dysgeusia, which causes people to have a salty or metallic taste in the mouth. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to reduce these side effects.

Does Xiidra cause hair loss?

No, Xiidra is not reported to cause hair loss.

Can Xiidra damage your eyes?

Xiidra is not known to damage your eyes. Blurred vision or eye discomfort may occur when you use Xiidra, but these side effects should not be permanent. If these symptoms do not go away or if your vision becomes worse, speak to your healthcare provider immediately for medical advice.

Do Xiidra side effects go away?

Side effects from using Xiidra normally go away as your body adjusts to the treatment. Also, your healthcare provider will be able to advise you on ways to stop or reduce these side effects.

How to avoid Xiidra side effects

The best way to avoid side effects is to take Xiidra as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, and do not take more or less than prescribed.

If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.

1. Stick to the recommended dosage

Take your prescribed dose of Xiidra that has been recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.

2. Monitor your blood sugar levels

If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Xiidra. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.

3. Drink plenty of fluids

Drink eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day to help prevent dehydration, which can worsen side effects.

4. Don’t skip meals

Eating regular meals and snacks will help to prevent low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).

5. Check your feet

If you have diabetes, check your feet for any cuts, sores, or redness regularly. Tell your doctor if you experience any problems with your feet while taking Xiidra.

6. Know the signs and symptoms of Xiidra side effects

Signs and symptoms of side effects include eye irritation and discomfort. If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor for medical advice.

7. Monitor your weight

Xiidra has been reported to cause some weight gain in a very few number of people using it. If you experience weight gain while taking Xiidra, get medical advice from your doctor.

8. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking

Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Xiidra.

9. Get regular medical check ups

It is important to get regular medical check ups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your side effects and may adjust your dose of Xiidra as needed.

Medically reviewed

A medical professional has reviewed this article.

Jamie Winn, PharmD
Jamie Winn, PharmD

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.

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Sources (4)

  1. WebMD - Xiidra Dropperette, Single Use Dropper - Uses, Side Effects, and More

  2. Healthline - All About Xiidra

  3. FDA - highlights of prescribing information for Xiidra

  4. Drugs.com - Xiidra

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.