How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Cyclosporine eye drops belong to the class of medications called anti-inflammatories or immunomodulators. This medication is used to treat moderate to moderately severe dry eye disease, which is when the eyes do not produce enough tears to keep the eyes moist and comfortable. It is believed that cyclosporine eye drops work on the immune cells in the eyes to decrease inflammation that may be causing dry eyes.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each mL of sterile, preservative-free ophthalmic emulsion contains cyclosporine 0.5 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: carbomer copolymer type A, castor oil, glycerin, polysorbate 80, purified water, and sodium hydroxide to adjust the pH.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose of cyclosporine eye drops is one drop into the affected eye twice daily, approximately 12 hours apart.

Cyclosporine eye drops are available as single-use vials stored in a resealable tray. Before using this medication, gently shake the vial a few times so that the emulsion looks white and appears the same throughout the vial. Instill the medication immediately after opening a single-use vial and discard immediately after use.

You should avoid touching the tip of the vial to the eye or any surface to prevent this medication from getting contaminated. Do not touch the vial container to the eye to prevent any potential eye injury.

If you are also using artificial tears, wait 15 minutes between using cyclosporine eye drops and the artificial tears.

In general, people with decreased tear production should not wear contact lenses; however, if you wear contact lenses, take them out before using cyclosporine eye drops. You can insert your lenses 15 minutes after administering these eye drops.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, instill it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not instill a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at 15°C to 25°C and keep it out of the reach of children. Keep unused vials within the resealable tray.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Cyclosporine eye drops should not be used by anyone who:

  • is allergic to cyclosporine eye drops or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • has an active eye infection

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • blurred vision
  • discharge coming out of eyes
  • dry eyes
  • eye burning
  • eye irritation
  • eye pain
  • eye redness
  • eye stinging
  • feeling of something in the eye
  • headache
  • itchy eyes
  • sensitivity to light

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • changes in vision
  • eye swelling
  • hives

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Blurred vision: Cyclosporine eye drops may temporarily cause blurred vision. Do not drive a car or perform hazardous tasks until you determine that your vision is clear and that this medication does not impair your ability to perform these tasks safely.

Eye conditions: Cyclosporine eye drops have not been studied in people who have a history of herpes keratitis, end stage lacrimal gland disease, or dry eye as a result of vitamin A deficiency or scarring. If you have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnancy while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if cyclosporine eye drops pass into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. In many cases, interactions are intended or are managed by close monitoring. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.