Shire's FDA-approved drug ends dry eye treatment drought
Editor's Update: Within weeks of its FDA approval, Shire's dry eye drug (Xiidra) is now available by prescription. With the availability of the drug, Shire has patient-focused resources to share information about prescription coverage and savings (subject to eligibility):
Ophthalmologists have been waiting more than a decade for a new treatment option for their dry eye patients—and the anticipation is finally over.
Lifitegrast ophthalmic solution 5% (Xiidra, Shire Ophthalmics) is a twice-daily eye drop solution and is the only FDA-approved drug indicated to treat the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease, according to the company.
Signs of dry eye include inferior corneal staining which can be observed via slit lamp, whereas symptoms refer to the patient-reported discomfort associated with the disease. The symptoms are typically what drive patients to see an ophthalmologist in the first place.
Shire expects to launch the drug in the United States in the third quarter of 2016.
The last dry eye drug approval was for cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05% (Restasis, Allergan) in 2003. However, cyclosporine functions to increase patients’ tear production, and did not have a specific indication for treating the signs and symptoms of dry eye, according to the FDA.
Lifitegrast is intended to help treat the estimated 16 million adults in the United States who have been diagnosed with dry eye. The chronic disease can eventually lead to eye surface damage and loss of visual function.
Learn more about the drug here.