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    Lifitegrast data support dry eye efficacy over placebo drops

    Twice-daily drops showed improvement in eye dryness scores after two weeks


    Adverse effects, side effects

    “There were few adverse systemic and ocular side effects that led to the discontinuation of the product,” Dr. Matossian said.

    Forty-seven people in the lifitegrast group (6.6%) discontinued because of treatment emergent adverse events, compared with 12 (1.7%) in the placebo group. There were no serious ocular treatment-emergent adverse events.

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    “The two main side effects are instillation site irritation and dysgeusia, an unpleasant or medicinal taste in the back of the throat,” she said. “Some patients minimize the dysgeusia by pressing their their index finger against the inner corner of the eye. This step prevents the medication from getting into the lacrimal system that drains tears to the back of the throat.”

    Other patients have dealt with the dysgeusia by gargling, chewing a mint, or eating food.

    “Several of my patients have reported the dysguesia to improve over time,” said Dr. Matossian.

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    She also warns patients not to drive immediately after instilling the drops since some patients have experienced a transient blurring of vision lasting up to 15 minutes.

    “Lifitegrast does not cause blurring all day; it’s a short-term blurriness, but we don’t have exact data on the average duration,” she said.

    More insurance carriers are covering lifitegrast, accoding to Dr. Matossian.

    “The take-home message is lifitegrast ophthalmic solution 5.0% is a new FDA-approved medication for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of dry eye, the first since [cyclosporine] was approved 13 years ago,” she said. “It’s nice to have at least two drugs in our armamentarium to treat dry eye disease.”

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    Cynthia Matossian, MD

    E: [email protected]

    This article was adapted from Dr. Matossian’s presentation at the 2016 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Matossian is a consultant for Allergan and Shire. She has also received research funding from Shire.

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