Xiidra’s Side Effects: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Brittany A. Duke, PharmD, RPh

Xiidra: Introduction

Xiidra is a brand-name prescription drug. It’s a type of drug called a lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) antagonist. (This is a newer type of drug class.) It contains the active drug lifitegrast.

Xiidra comes as a solution and is given as eye drops.

Xiidra is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat dry eye syndrome. With dry eye, your eyes aren’t able to produce enough tears to keep them moist. Doctors can prescribe Xiidra for long-term use in people ages 17 years and older.

Similar to other drugs, Xiidra may cause side effects. Read below for information about possible side effects, including common, mild, and serious ones.

For a general overview of Xiidra, see this article.

If you’d like to try Xiidra, search here to find a healthcare professional who might prescribe it.

Xiidra: More common side effects

Some of Xiidra’s side effects may be more common than others. These side effects may last only a few days to weeks. However, some side effects may last longer or become severe or bothersome. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns about any side effects with Xiidra.

In Xiidra’s clinical studies, these were some side effects that occurred more often:

  • irritated eyes
  • changes in taste, such as dysgeusia (a metallic or other unpleasant taste in your mouth)*
  • blurred vision*

* For more information about this side effect, see “Xiidra: Side effects explained” below.

Xiidra: Mild side effects

Xiidra can cause mild side effects, which are listed below. However, this list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects. To learn more about Xiidra’s side effects, view the drug’s prescribing information.

Xiidra’s mild side effects include:

The side effects listed above may last only a few days to weeks. However, some side effects may last longer or become severe or bothersome. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns about side effects of Xiidra.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while using Xiidra and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

* For more information about this side effect, see “Xiidra: Side effects explained” below.

Xiidra: Serious side effects

It’s possible to have serious side effects with Xiidra. One serious side effect is listed below, but this may not include all possibilities. To learn more about Xiidra’s side effects, view the drug’s prescribing information.

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects with Xiidra. However, if you think you’re having a medical emergency or have life threatening side effects, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Xiidra include:

* Allergic reaction was not reported in clinical studies of Xiidra. However, this side effect has been reported since the drug became available for use. For more information about this side effect, see “Xiidra: Side effects explained” below.

Xiidra: Common questions about side effects

Here are some common questions about the drug’s side effects and answers to them. Talk with your doctor if you have other questions about this drug.

Does Xiidra cause hair loss?

It’s not likely. Hair loss wasn’t reported as a side effect in clinical studies of Xiidra.

If you have hair loss while using Xiidra, talk with your doctor. They can help determine the potential cause and recommend ways to help ease your symptoms.

Are there long-term side effects of Xiidra?

No long-term side effects were reported in clinical studies of Xiidra. Most of the drug’s side effects are expected to be mild and temporary. They should go away within a few minutes of Xiidra drops being applied to your eyes.

If you have side effects that are bothersome or last longer than this, talk with your doctor. They can advise whether you should continue using Xiidra.

What are some rare side effects of Xiidra?

Below are a few rare side effects of Xiidra.

These side effects were less common than others in clinical studies of the drug:

In addition, allergic reaction* is rare with Xiidra. This side effect was not reported in Xiidra’s clinical studies. However, it has been reported since the drug became available for use.

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about what to expect with Xiidra treatment.

* For more information about this side effect, see “Xiidra: Side effects explained” below.

Will I have a sore throat from using Xiidra?

Sore throat wasn’t reported as a side effect in clinical studies of Xiidra.

However, Xiidra may cause sinusitis (sinus infection). And sore throat is a possible symptom of this side effect. For details about sinusitis, see “Xiidra: Side effects explained” below.

If you have a sore throat while using Xiidra, talk with your doctor. They may check for other symptoms of sinusitis or other possible causes of a sore throat.

Is diarrhea a side effect of Xiidra?

Diarrhea wasn’t reported as a side effect in clinical studies of Xiidra.

Because Xiidra is an eye drop, it’s not expected to be absorbed by any areas of the body outside of your eyes or head. For this reason, it’s unlikely that Xiidra would cause diarrhea.

If you have diarrhea while using Xiidra, talk with your doctor. They can look for other possible causes of this symptom.

Xiidra: Side effects explained

Here’s detailed information about some of Xiidra’s side effects.

Changes in taste, such as dysgeusia

Certain changes in taste may occur with Xiidra. This was a common side effect in clinical studies of the drug.

Specifically, Xiidra may cause dysgeusia. This condition can cause everything you eat to have a metallic, bitter, sour, or sweet taste. You may also have these tastes in your mouth even when you haven’t eaten anything. 

What to do

If you have changes in taste while using Xiidra, talk with your doctor. They may switch you to a different medication that isn’t known to cause this side effect. For example, cyclosporine (Restasis) is prescribed to treat dry eye syndrome but isn’t known to cause changes in taste.

Blurred vision

Blurred vision is a possible side effect of Xiidra. This was common in clinical studies of the drug.

With blurred vision, you may have a loss of sharpness or clarity in your vision. This may happen when you first apply Xiidra drops to your eyes. However, blurred vision should go away within a few minutes.

What to do

If you have blurred vision that worsens or doesn’t go away while using Xiidra, talk with your doctor. They can advise whether it’s safe to keep using Xiidra.

Headache

Headache may occur with Xiidra. However, this wasn’t a common side effect in clinical studies of the drug.

With headache, you may have pain, pressure, or tightness in your head or face. Keep in mind that headache can be a symptom of sinusitis (sinus infection), which is another possible side effect of Xiidra. For details, see “Sinusitis” directly below.

In addition, headache and dry eye sometimes occur together. (Xiidra is prescribed to treat dry eye syndrome.) However, the reason for this link isn’t clear. You can read this article to learn more about the connection between headache and dry eye.

What to do

If you have headaches while using Xiidra, talk with your doctor. They can help determine whether the headaches may be related to Xiidra, the condition you’re using the drug to treat, or some other cause.

Your doctor may also suggest over-the-counter pain relievers to help ease your headache. Examples include ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Sinusitis

Sinusitis (sinus infection) may occur with Xiidra. This was a less common side effect in clinical studies of the drug.

Symptoms of sinusitis can include:

What to do

If you have symptoms of sinusitis, you may be able to relieve them with a few home remedies. Examples include:

  • getting rest
  • drinking fluids to stay hydrated
  • placing a moist, warm cloth over your face to help drain your sinuses
  • using nasal spray, nasal drops, or a neti pot to rinse out your nasal passages
  • using a vaporizer or humidifier to keep your sinuses moist

However, if your symptoms are bothersome or severe, talk with your doctor. They can advise whether prescription treatments are needed. Your doctor can also recommend whether you should continue using Xiidra.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after using Xiidra. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

This side effect was not reported in clinical studies of Xiidra. However, allergic reaction has been reported since the drug became available for use.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
• itching trouble breathing
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids

If you have an allergic reaction to Xiidra, call your doctor right away. This is important to do because the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Xiidra: Precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you start Xiidra. This drug may not be the right treatment option for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health.

The conditions and factors to consider include those described below.

Contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses, it’s important to take them out before using Xiidra eye drops. You’ll also wait at least 15 minutes after using Xiidra before putting contact lenses back in.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Xiidra or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Xiidra. Ask your doctor which other medications may be better options for you.

Consuming alcohol during Xiidra treatment

There isn’t any known interaction between alcohol and Xiidra. If you have questions about consuming alcohol while using Xiidra, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding during Xiidra treatment

It isn’t known for sure whether Xiidra is safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Because Xiidra is an eye drop, it’s not expected to be absorbed by the body outside of your eyes. For this reason, it’s unlikely that Xiidra would be unsafe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

However, it’s best to talk with your doctor about the safety of Xiidra if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning either.

Xiidra: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to find out more information about Xiidra. If you have questions about the drug’s side effects, your pharmacist or healthcare professional can help answer them for you.

In addition to discussing Xiidra with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more.

  • Overview of Xiidra. To read an overview of Xiidra, see this article.
  • Drug comparison. To learn how Xiidra compares with Restasis, read this article.
  • Details about dry eye syndrome. To learn more about the condition Xiidra is prescribed to treat, see this dry eye syndrome article.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Medical Reviewer: Brittany A. Duke, PharmD, RPh
Last Review Date: 2022 May 4
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.