Cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion
Restasis is a medication used to treat eye symptoms related to Sjogren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the glands that produce tears and saliva do not function correctly. About 1 in every 10 people with lupus has Sjogren’s syndrome, but Sjogren’s can also affect people who do not have lupus. People with Sjogren’s often experience dryness of the eyes and mouth, and often they feel a gritty or sandy sensation in their eyes, especially in the morning. This dryness occurs because the immune system has begun to attack the moisture-producing glands of the eyes and mouth (the lacrimal and parotid glands, respectively), resulting in decreased tears and saliva.
Restasis is an immunosuppressive medication that works to reduce inflammation in the tear glands, helping to prevent further damage. Some people also report recovered tear production after using this medication for long periods of time. Yet, it is important to remember that it may take several weeks for your Restasis treatment to produce a therapeutic effect, and it may even take up to 6 months for you to feel the maximum benefit. Some people report that they stopped using their Restasis eye drops because they felt they were not working properly. However, remember that Restasis is used not to produce tears or wetness in your eyes, but rather to prevent further damage to your tear glands. Therefore, it is very important that you continue taking your Restasis eye drops as directed by your doctor, unless she/he decides they are ineffective. Your doctor may also prescribe lubricating eye drops (“artificial tears”) to help ease the every day discomfort of dry eyes. Restasis is generally safe and well-tolerated, but if you experience any serious discomfort (i.e., more than just a slight burning of the eyes), contact your doctor.
Restasis is not allowed in people with a history of serious eye infections. If you develop an eye infection, see your eye doctor immediately.