Cyclosporine Ophthalmic Emulsion

Restasis® eye drops are a nonsteroidal treatment for dry eye and related issues. The active ingredient, cyclosporine, is an immune inhibitor. It limits the production of enzymes that cause inflammation. Blocking eye inflammation that way helps increase tear fluid production, improving eye moisture.


What is this medication?

CYCLOSPORINE (SYE kloe spor een) eye drops are used to increase tear production in patients who have dry eyes due to eye inflammation.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Restasis, Verkazia


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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • an active eye infection
  • a history of herpes keratitis
  • using punctal plugs
  • wear contact lenses
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to cyclosporine, medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

This medicine is only for use in the eye. Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Turn the vial upside down once or twice to shake the contents before use. Wash hands before and after use. Use the product immediately after opening the vial and throw the vial away right after use. Tilt your head back slightly and pull your lower eyelid down with your index finger to form a pouch. Try not to touch the tip of the dropper to your eye, fingertips, or any other surface. Squeeze the prescribed number of drops into the pouch. Close the eye for a few moments to spread the drops and apply gentle finger pressure to the inner corner of the eye for 1 to 2 minutes. Use your doses at regular intervals. Do not use your medicine more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.


What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

Interactions are not expected.

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.


What should I watch for while using this medication?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular eye exams. Ask your doctor or health care professional if you should continue to use this medicine if you injure your eyes or need eye surgery. If you develop an eye infection, contact your doctor or health care professional immediately.

If you wear contact lenses, you should not put this medicine in your eyes while wearing the lenses. After using the eye drops, wait about 15 minutes before putting lenses in your eyes.

You can use artificial tear products while using this medicine; however you should wait at least 15 minutes before using the this medicine.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • eye discharge
  • swelling around the eye

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • blurred vision
  • excessive tearing
  • eye burning or stinging
  • eye itching
  • feeling as if something is in your eye

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 25 degrees C (59 and 77 degrees F). Once a vial is open, use it right away and throw away any remaining medicine in the vial. Throw away any unused vials after the expiration date.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

Additional Common Questions

What is Restasis used for?

Restasis® has U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to treat eye inflammation due to dry eye disease (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). It can also treat inflammation and dry eye that happen on their own or because of another condition like allergic eye irritation or Sjögren’s syndrome.

How does Restasis work?

The active ingredient in Restasis, cyclosporine, is an immune-suppressing drug (immunosuppressant). It limits your immune system’s ability to produce certain enzymes, proteins that make it easier for certain chemical reactions to happen in your body or make those reactions happen faster. In this case, the enzymes are the type that cause inflammation.

For most people, inflammation is a helpful process. It signals your immune system to send specialized cells to a specific area to stop disease progress and repair damage. But if you have excessive inflammation, it can do more harm than good. In your eyes, inflammation can make it harder for your body to produce tear fluid. Limiting eye inflammation means you have more available tear fluid, which treats dry eye.

How long does it take for Restasis to work?

Restasis has some effects that you’ll notice quickly, but others may take some time to notice.

You should notice increased moisture in your eyes within five minutes. But the full benefits of Restasis can take much longer — up to three months — to appear fully. So don’t feel discouraged if it takes time for you to notice major improvements.

Is Restasis a steroid?

No, Restasis isn’t a steroid. The active ingredient, cyclosporine, is an immune inhibitor. Healthcare providers often use it specifically to avoid or limit using steroids.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Restasis is an immunosuppressant medication for your eyes. It treats dry eye by reducing inflammation, which makes it easier for your body to produce tear fluid. If you have dry eye, you don’t have to just accept and deal with it. Restasis and treatments that work like it can help.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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