Earlier this week, the FDA approved Xiidra (Lifitegrast), a new treatment for dry eye. According to its press release, “Xiidra is the first medication in a new class of drugs, called lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) antagonist, approved by the FDA for dry eye disease.”

This is big news to me because Xiidra is the first eye drop to be developed for chronic dry eye in well over a decade. As of right now, Restasis (released by Allergan in 2003) is the only dry eye medication (in eye drop form) on the market. The approval of Xiidra paves the way for another option, which markets the ability to treat both symptoms AND signs of dry eye, while Restasis only assists with tear production.

Symptoms and Signs:

In making an early comparison of Xiidra and Restasis, the difference between symptoms and signs should be noted. In a Previous Post, I covered several symptoms of dry eye, which include the following:

  • Burning or stinging
  • Redness of the eyes or eyelids
  • Itching
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye fatigue
  • Contact lens irritation

SYMPTOMS of dry eye indicate the disease is in an early stage. SIGNS indicate the disease has reached a more advanced stage.

Signs of dry eye include the following:

  • Decreased tear production
  • Decreased tear break up time
  • Corneal staining

When taking this information into consideration, it seems as if Xiidra will have an apparent edge over Restasis.


As expected, Xiidra’s entry into the marketplace may knock Restasis down a few pegs (Forbes). However, it doesn’t mean Allergan will be completely shoved out. According to analyst Ronny Gal, Allergan should still be able to take advantage of “the power of incumbency.” This suggests the Restasis brand is large enough to compete against outside threats, which makes sense because it’s been the only option in the marketplace over the last 12 years.

All in all, it should be interesting to see what plays out, especially for those in the eye care field. Anyone who suffers from dry eye should probably be excited too. If Xiidra does indeed live up to the hype, the results will be favorable not only for patients (most importantly) and doctors, but Shire (Xiidra’s parent company) as well.