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.

MAKE SURE ALL DOCTORS INVOLVED IN YOUR CARE KNOW YOU ARE 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 pregnant.

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 effective.

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.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.