What is Cequa?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board

Cequa™ (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.09 percent is an immune-modulating eye drop that is approved to increase tear production in people with decreased tear production caused by chronic dry eye inflammation. Chronic dry eye may also be called dry eye, dry eye syndrome, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca.1-3

What are the ingredients?

The active ingredient in Cequa is cyclosporine.1

How does Cequa work?

Cequa is a type of immune-modulating (anti-inflammatory) eye drop. Inflammation is a key factor in the development of chronic dry eye symptoms. If the surface of the eye is inflamed, damage can happen to the glands that make tears, the tissues on the surface of the eye, and even the eyelids. Immune-modulating eye drops work to stop this inflammation.1,3

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Decreasing inflammation can help the glands that make tears work better and help the overall eye surface heal. Anti-inflammatory eye drops can be especially helpful for dry eye associated with autoimmune diseases, such as Sjogren’s syndrome.3

Cequa is thought to work on the immune system response by decreasing inflammation. However, the exact way it works is not well known.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effect of Cequa is pain and redness of the eye when applied. Pain or eye irritation may temporarily occur when placing eye drops with active medical ingredients. Redness is likely caused by dilation (opening) of blood vessels in the eye, resulting in increased blood flow.1,3

Other less common side effects include:1,5,6

  • Inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis)
  • Eye irritation
  • Headache
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI), an infection of any part of your urinary system

These are not all the possible side effects of Cequa. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with Cequa.

Things to know

Cequa comes in single-use vials, which you can use in both eyes for one use. Use immediately after opening the vial and throw away any amount left in the vial.1

Because Cequa is applied directly to the surface of the eye, there is a risk of eye injury and contamination. Try not to touch the vial tip to your eye or other surfaces to avoid injury or contamination.1

Doctors are not sure if Cequa is effective or safe to use in children under 18 or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this drug.1

Cequa should not be used when wearing contact lenses or if there are any signs of eye infection. If you choose to wear contact lenses, your lenses should be removed before using Cequa. You may reinsert your contact lenses 15 minutes after using Cequa.1

Before beginning treatment for chronic dry eye, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information for Cequa.