Cyclosporine: Uses, Side Effects

Cyclosporine weakens your body’s immune
system, to help keep it from “rejecting” a transplanted organ such as
a kidney. Organ rejection happens when the immune system treats the new organ
as an invader and attacks it.

Cyclosporine is used to prevent organ
rejection after a kidney, heart, or liver transplant.

Cyclosporine is also used to treat severe
psoriasis or severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Cyclosporine may also be used for purposes
not listed in this medication guide.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use cyclosporine if you are
allergic to it. You may not be able to use cyclosporine if you have:

  • kidney disease;
  • untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure; or
  • any type of cancer.

If you are being treated for psoriasis, you
should not receive ultraviolet light therapy (PUVA or UVB), radiation
treatments, coal tar, or drugs that weaken the immune system (such as
methotrexate) while you are receiving cyclosporine.

Cyclosporine affects your immune system and
may cause certain white blood cells to grow out of control. This can lead to
cancer, severe brain infection causing disability or death, or a viral
infection causing kidney transplant failure. Talk with your doctor about the
risks of using cyclosporine.


Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver or kidney disease;
  • high blood pressure; or
  • if you are scheduled to receive any vaccine.

It is not known whether this medicine will
harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become

You should not breast-feed while you are
using cyclosporine.

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have
signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your
face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • problems with speech, thought, vision, or muscle movement (may start
    gradually and get worse quickly);
  • a seizure;
  • severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears;
  • pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding;
  • high potassium level–nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain,
    irregular heartbeats, loss of movement;
  • kidney problems–little or no urination, swelling in your feet or
    ankles, feeling tired or short of breath;
  • liver problems–loss of appetite, stomach pain (upper right side),
    jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
  • signs of infection–fever, chills, flu symptoms, mouth sores, skin
    sores, sore throat, cough, trouble breathing.

Common side effects may include:

  • tremors or shaking;
  • acne, increased growth of facial or body hair;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • nausea, diarrhea; or
  • swollen or painful gums.

This is not a complete list of side effects
and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

What other drugs will affect cyclosporine?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain
medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other
drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less

Cyclosporine can harm your kidneys,
especially if you also use certain medicines for infections, cancer,
osteoporosis, organ transplant rejection, bowel disorders, or pain or arthritis
(including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).

Many drugs can affect cyclosporine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Keyword: cyclosporine.

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