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Does Xiidra cause headaches?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on April 17, 2023.

Official answer


Headaches can occur when you use Xiidra, but it’s not listed as one of the most common side effects. In clinical studies, headaches occurred in 1% to 5% of patients (1 to 5 out of every 100 patients).

Other side effects reported in 1% to 5% of patients were eye redness, teary or watery eyes, eye discharge, eye discomfort, itchy eyes and sinusitis.

The most common side effects with Xiidra eye drops, occurring in 5% to 25% of patients are:

  • eye irritation
  • an unusual taste in your mouth
  • eye discomfort or blurred vision.

Can dry eye disease occur with migraines?

In studies, an increased frequency of dry eye disease has been found to occur in patients with migraine, which might suggest that migraine headaches are related to dry eye disease. According to the researchers, some migraine attacks may be aggravated in the presence of dry eye syndrome.

In this observational study, researchers compared a group of 33 patients with migraine headache to 33 patients without migraines (the control group). Significant differences (<0.05) in dry eye scores were found between the patients with migraine and the control subjects.

Another large population-based case-control study of 72,969 patients, the odds of having dry eye disease with a diagnosis of migraine headaches was at least 20% higher than that of individuals without a diagnosis of migraine headaches.

What causes dry eye disease?

Chronic dry eye is a long-lasting (chronic )disease that cannot be cured but your symptoms can be controlled. It can be caused by:

  • older age
  • wearing contacts
  • some types of medications or medical conditions
  • eye diseases
  • reduced tear production due to inflammation
  • environmental factors

Bottom Line

  • In 1% to 5% of patients, the use of Xiidra for dry eye disease may cause a headache.
  • Migraine headaches have also been linked with dry eye disease in several studies.
  • If you develop new or worsening headaches of any type while using Xiidra, be sure to talk to your doctor.
  • Xiidra [package insert].East Hanover, New Jersey: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, 2019.
  • Haber SL, Benson V, Buckway CJ, Gonzales JM, Romanet D, Scholes B. Lifitegrast: a novel drug for patients with dry eye disease. Ther Adv Ophthalmol. 2019;11:2515841419870366. Published 2019 Aug 22. doi:10.1177/2515841419870366
  • Koktekir, B. E., Celik, G., Karalezli, A., & Kal, A. (2012, December). Dry eyes and migraines: Is there really a correlation? 31(12), 1414-1416 Cornea,
  • Ismail OM, Poole ZB, Bierly SL, et al. Association Between Dry Eye Disease and Migraine Headaches in a Large Population-Based Study. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019;137(5):532–536. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.0170

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