Cyclosporine

Brand names of cyclosporine

  • Neoral
  • Sandimmune
  • SangCya

Cyclosporine belongs to the class of medications known as immunosuppressant and is extensively employed during any organ transplant with a view to put off the rejection of the alien organ. This medication lessens the immune system's actions by means of impeding its actions as well as the T cell growth. In 1969, a biologist named Dr. Hans Peter Frey was the first to isolate cyclosporine from Tolypocladium inflatum, a fungus that was discovered in a soil specimen obtained from Hardangervidda in Norway.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking cyclosporine

As in the instance of using any prescription medicament for the first time, prior to using cyclosporine, you need to inform your physician as well as your pharmacist about a few important things related to medications used by you, your health condition and others. You ought to let your physician and pharmacist know whether you have any allergic reaction to cyclosporine, any of its constituents or have any additional type of allergy. Cyclosporine may possibly enclose a number of inactive elements that have the aptitude to result in allergies or additional problems. Therefore, talk to your pharmacist to learn about the ingredients of cyclosporine and related matters.

People enduring specific health conditions should not use cyclosporine. Before beginning treatment with this drug, it is essential that you talk over to your physician or pharmacist regarding your entire medical history, especially if you have ever suffered from uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure); chickenpox or shingles, skin lesions whose cause is unidentified, cancer, problems related to the kidneys (only if you have psoriasis or arthritis), and if you are presently undergoing any radiation therapy (counting phototherapy in combination with UVB or PUVA).

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People who intend to take cyclosporine ought to know that this medicament has the aptitude to lower the levels of magnesium in bloodstream. Hence, you ought to seek your physician's advice regarding complementing your diet with magnesium. In such an instance, it is likely that your physician will recommend taking magnesium supplements.

Tell your physician or pharmacist in advance if you have a history of ailments related to the liver or kidneys; seizures; any recent or current contagions; any mineral imbalance that has not been treated (for instance, high levels of potassium or low levels of magnesium); diabetes; any disorder related to the blood; high levels of fats in bloodstream (for instance, triglycerides or cholesterol); and any specific problem related to the stomach (for instance, insufficient absorption of nutrients from ingested foods).

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Cyclosporine is likely to make you feel lightheaded, therefore, keep away from undertaking activities that require alertness, such as using a machine or driving a vehicles, till such time when you are certain about the effects of the medication on your body and when you think you can execute these tasks in a safe manner. It is worth mentioning here that older adults should exercise extra precaution while using cyclosporine, as they are more susceptible to the side effects of cyclosporine on the kidneys as well as blood pressure.

Talk to your physician before having any immunization while undergoing treatment with cyclosporine. In addition, you should also stay away from individuals who have received nasal flu vaccine or oral polio vaccine recently. Be careful so that you do not come in contact with people suffering from flu or any other infectious disease.

Cyclosporine is also likely to enhance the patient's chances of being struck by skin cancer. Therefore, people taking this drug ought to stay away from being in the sun for long periods, sunlamps as well as tanning booths. When it is necessary to go outdoors in the sun, they should wear protective garments and use sunscreen.

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This drug may possible result in the growth as well as swelling of gums (a condition called gingival hyperplasia). Therefore, people taking cyclosporine need to brush their teeth as well as floss every day with a view to diminish this problem. Also ensure that you visit your dentist at regular intervals.

Women should strictly use cyclosporine when it is absolutely necessary when they are pregnant. It has been found that women who have used this medication during pregnancy have given birth to infants with certain problems, for instance, premature birth or newborns with low weight. In addition, there have been instances when the use of cyclosporine by pregnant women has resulted in the death of the fetus. Therefore, such women should essentially talk to their physician regarding the advantages and hazards of using cyclosporine during pregnancy.

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It has been found that cyclosporine passes onto the breast milk. Hence, women using this medicament should not breast feed. It is advisable that new mothers check with their physician prior to breast feeding.

Usage

As an immunosuppressant medicament, cyclosporine is employed to avoid the body from rejecting any organ in patients who have undergone transplantation of a kidney, liver or the heart. Generally, this medication is taken in combination with additional drugs in order to enable the transplanted organ to work as usual. In addition, this medication is also prescribed for people suffering from acute rheumatoid arthritis.

Cyclosporine acts by inhibiting the body's immune system (which defends the body from ailments) with a view to check the body from refusing to accept a new organ that has been transplanted. This medication also works to prevent any additional damage to the joints (in the case of rheumatoid arthritis) or damaging the skin further (in case of people having psoriasis). Cyclosporine is usually prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis when the patients are unable to take other drugs or have not benefitted from undergoing other therapies. In addition, this medication is also employed to treat steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome.

How to use cyclosporine

Cyclosporine should strictly be taken according to your physician's prescription. Never take this medication in extra or less dosage or for an additional period than what has been prescribed. In addition, you need to abide by the instructions on the prescription label. It is likely that your physician will alter the dose of the medication from time to time to help you to obtain better results of using it.

Cyclosporine may be taken with or with no food, but once you decided to take it in a particular way, you need to follow that for every dose of this medication. This medication is taken twice in two split dosages every day and it is important that you take the medication at the same time(s) daily. However, your dose of the medication may possibly change in case your physician alters the brand, potency as well as the type of this drug. In case you are unable to follow any instruction or have any queries seek the help of your pharmacist.

Provided you are taking the liquid form of cyclosporine, you need to measure it using a particular cup or spoon used to measure the dosage of liquid medications. Request your pharmacist to provide you with one such dosing device in case you don't possess one. You may mix the oral solution form of cyclosporine with orange or apple juice, chocolate milk, or milk at room temperature to make it better tasting. In fact, the oral solution of cyclosporine called Neoral 'modified' (also known as micro solution) should always be taken after blending the medication with apple or orange juice, at room temperature.

People taking cyclosporine will require undergoing medical examinations at regular intervals to ascertain that this drug is not producing any effects that may be detrimental for your health. If you are taking this medication, you should ensure that you also visit your physician periodically. Be careful to not miss visits with your physician for follow-up blood or urine examinations.

People suffering from autoimmune diseases may require treatment using a grouping of various medications. Hence, you would be required to use all these medicines strictly according to the directions of your physician. It is advisable that you also go through the patient instructions or medication guide that will be made available with every drug. Never alter your medication schedule or dosage of any drug without talking to your physician and obtaining his/ her consent. It is important for all patients using cyclosporine to be under the direct supervision of a qualified physician.

How cyclosporine works

Cyclosporine works by restraining the immune system's functioning, thereby, checking the body's normal response against any alien tissue or substances that may otherwise result in the body rejecting the transplanted organ or also the bone marrow. In addition, this medication is also employed to cope with psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, since these health conditions are also known as autoimmune ailments. In other words, autoimmune diseases are those where the immune system malfunctions, often even assaulting the healthy tissues.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:
  • headache
  • tremor
  • unusual hair growth on body and face
  • swelling or bleeding of gums
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
Use of specific herbal remedies and mineral supplements is not recommended while you are taking cyclosporine. For instance, taking Echinacea in combination with cyclosporine is not advisable, as both medications repress the immune system. In addition, you should avoid oak bark, mistletoe herb, licorice or marshmallow while using cyclosporine. In fact, there are reports that taking cyclosporine in conjunction with St. John's wort has resulted in the patient's body rejecting a heart transplant. Therefore, never use this combination. Cyclosporine has the aptitude to exhaust the body of its magnesium stock, therefore, seek the advice of your physician regarding whether you need to take a magnesium supplement. On the other hand, this drug may possibly enhance the levels of potassium in the body. Hence, stay away from foods that are rich in potassium content.
Foods:
Foods have the aptitude to enhance the peak level of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Beverages:
While you are being treated with cyclosporine, you need to avoid grapefruit juice as well as other different fruit juices, because they enhance the blood levels of this medication.
Alcohol:
People using cyclosporine ought to restrict their consumption of alcoholic beverages or using alcohol in any other form, as using alcohol in large quantities is likely to raise the levels of this drug in the bloodstream.
Exposure to sun:
People taking cyclosporine should keep away from being exposed to sunlight as well as radiations of ultraviolet (UV), as it may enhance the chances of having skin cancer.

Discontinuation

People taking cyclosporine should not stop taking this medication all of a sudden or without prior consultation with their physician. It is advisable that you seek the advice and guidance of your physician before discontinuing cyclosporine.

Storage instructions

It is important that you always store the gelatin capsules of cyclosporine in the blister packs till just before you use them. In addition, this medication ought to be stored at temperatures under 25°C, but never stored in a refrigerator.

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