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Are there any Restasis withdrawal symptoms?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on May 24, 2022.

Official answer


Restasis withdrawal symptoms do not usually occur, but clinical studies have shown that persistent dry eye symptoms may return if you stop treatment. Depending upon your symptoms, you may need 3 to 6 months of Restasis treatment before your dry eyes start to improve.

Restasis is typical meant for long-term use, but some patients may be able to stop treatment after 6 months.

If needed, your eye doctor can recommend use of over-the-counter lubricating eye drops or artificial tears to use when you start Restasis treatment. Wait 15 minutes between using lubricating drops and Restasis. This may help to relieve your dry eyes while you wait for Restasis to start working.

Over time, as Restasis starts to work, you may rely less on lubricating drops for your dry eye symptoms.

Symptoms of dry eye disease include:

  • A burning or stinging feeling
  • Itching
  • Eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Feeling like a foreign object is scratching your eye

Dry eye disease can be caused by older age, wearing contacts, certain medicines, other types of eye conditions, other medical conditions, preservatives in eye drops, or the environment. One type of dry eye occurs because you have reduced tear production due to inflammation. Restasis works by decreasing this inflammation and increasing tear production.

If your symptoms of dry eye are not improving, speak with your eye doctor. It can take several weeks to months for Restasis to begin to relieve your symptoms. You generally should not stop treatment unless approved by your doctor. If needed, another agent can be prescribed.

Will wearing contacts worsen my dry eye symptoms?

Yes, wearing contacts may also worsen your dry eye symptoms. Patients with decreased tear production typically should not wear contact lenses. Ask your eye doctor if you should continue contact lens use while being treated with Restasis.

Do not administer Restasis emulsion while you are wearing contacts. If you continue to wear contacts, remove them before each Restasis administration and do not reinsert them for at least 15 minutes.

Are side effects with Restasis eye drops temporary?

Most side effects from Restasis are temporary. Until Restasis begins to work for you, you may also have lingering symptoms from your dry eyes.

The burning, stinging sensation or blurry vision after you use Restasis should be temporary and resolve shortly after you place the drops in your eyes. Redness should also improve as you continue to use Restasis. If any side effects do not improve, contact your eye doctor for further advice.

In clinical trials, the most common side effect following the use of Restasis was:

  • eye burning or stinging (17%)

Other reactions reported in 1% to 5% of patients included:

  • eye redness
  • eye discharge
  • watery eyes
  • eye pain
  • foreign body sensation
  • itching
  • stinging
  • blurry vision

When was Restasis approved?

Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic) was first approved by the FDA in 2003 to treat chronic dry eye disease (also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca). It is an immunosuppressant in a class of drugs called calcineurin inhibitors. It helps to increase the eyes ability to produce tears, which may be reduced by inflammation due to chronic dry eye disease.

The recommended dose is one drop of Restasis in each eye twice a day, every day, at least 12 hours apart. Follow your healthcare provider’s directions.

It is available as a package of 30 or 60 single-use vials or in a multi-dose vial. A generic option for the single-use vials is now available.

Related: How can I get a free trial of Restasis?

This is not all the information you need to know about Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your eye doctor’s directions. Review the full product information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your eye doctor or other health care provider.


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