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May 16, 2024

Everyday Health

Restasis (Cyclosporine) for Dry Eye Syndrome

Restasis is a prescription eye drop specifically formulated to treat a condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (ker-uh-toe-kun-junk-tih-VY-tis SIK-uh), more commonly known as dry eye syndrome. This condition arises when there is insufficient tear production or excessive tear evaporation, leading to symptoms such as itching, burning, and the sensation of having something in the eye. These symptoms can become more pronounced in situations that further dry out the eyes, such as exposure to windy or dusty environments, dehydration, or prolonged periods of activities that strain the eyes, like driving or using electronic devices. Restasis helps by increasing tear production, which may be reduced due to inflammation associated with dry eye syndrome.

How It Works

Restasis contains the active ingredient cyclosporine, which is an immunosuppressive agent. It works by modifying the immune response in the eyes to reduce inflammation. Since inflammation is a key factor that contributes to the reduced tear production seen in keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye syndrome), by mitigating the inflammation, cyclosporine helps to increase tear production. This increase in tears can alleviate the bothersome symptoms of dry eyes, such as irritation, burning, and the sensation of grittiness or foreign bodies in the eyes.

Dosing and Administration

The usual dose of Restasis is one drop in each eye twice a day, approximately 12 hours apart.

  • Wash your hands: Ensure your hands are clean to avoid contaminating the dropper tip and solution.
  • Prepare the dropper: Pain
  • Application: Tilt your head back slightly and pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket. Hold the dropper above the eye with the tip down. Look up and away from the dropper, squeeze out a drop, and close your eye.
  • Gently press your finger to the inside corner of the eye for about 1 minute, to keep the liquid from draining into your tear duct.
  • Discard the vial: Each vial is for one-time use only. Do not reuse the vial even if there is some medicine left in it after administering the dose.
  • Do not wear contact lenses if your eyes are red. Restasis should not be used while wearing contact lenses. Remove them before using the eye drops, and wait at least 15 minutes after using the drops before putting your lenses back in.
  • Avoid touching the dropper tip against your eye or anything else; eyedrops and droppers must be kept clean.
  • While using Restasis, wait at least 5 minutes before using any other eye drops drops that your doctor has prescribed.

Side Effects

The most common side effect of Restasis is burning in the eyes. Other potential side effects include eye symptoms such as:

  • Discharge
  • Pain
  • The feeling of something in your eye
  • Itching
  • Stinging

To prevent any possible infection or injury to your eye, it’s also important to make sure you don’t let the tip of the bottle touch your eye (or any other surfaces) when applying the medication.

Generic Restasis

As of November 2022, a generic version of Restasis, known as "cyclosporine 0.05% ophthalmic emulsion" or simply "generic Restasis," has become available. The introduction of generic medications is generally beneficial because they are typically less expensive than their brand-name counterparts.

When a new medication is introduced to the market, it is initially sold under a brand name and is exclusively manufactured by the company that developed it. This exclusivity period allows the company to recoup the investment made in developing the drug. However, this period can be lengthy, often leading to higher prices due to the lack of competition.

Once the exclusivity period expires, other pharmaceutical companies can produce and sell generic versions, which are therapeutically equivalent to the brand-name medication but are offered at lower prices. This competition helps reduce costs for consumers while providing manufacturers with a competitive product in the market.

Regarding costs, a one-month supply of generic Restasis currently ranges between $300 and $700. Although still significant, this is generally less expensive than the brand-name version, which costs over $700 per month.

To learn more about how you can get your Restasis prescription from Marley Drug, just call us at 1-800-810-7790.

*Prices mentioned in this article are based on average retail price at major box chain pharmacy in the U.S. as of December 3rd, 2023.


  1. RESTASIS® (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05%. Food and Drug Administration. (1983, Revised 11/2012). Retrieved Dec 3, 2023, from
  2. Roat, M. I. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca. Merck Manual Professional Version. (Revised 08/2022). Retrieved Dec 2, 2023, from
  3. Cyclosporine (generic Restasis). GoodRx. (n.d.). Retrieved Dec 3, 2023, from
  4. FDA Approves First Generic of Restasis. Food and Drug Administration News. (02/2022). Retrieved Dec 3, 2023, from

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