DURHAM, N.C. — First quarter revenues for Inspire Pharmaceuticals nearly tripled, to $5.5 million, from a year ago, but losses also increased, the company said Tuesday.

Sales of eye treatment drugs Elestat and Restasis climbed to $1.3 million and $2.9 million. The company also deferred $1.8 million in sales of Elestat, which it co-markets along with Allegran.

Expenses climbed to $20.7 million, up from $16.1 million the previous year. Research and development expenses climbed $3.1 million over 2005.

Losses climbed to $14 million, or 33 cents per share, compared to $13.3 million, or 32 cents, in 2005.

Inspire: www.inspirepharm.com