Sirolimus: Uses, Side Effects

Sirolimus 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.

Sirolimus is used with other medicines to prevent organ rejection after a kidney transplant.

Sirolimus is also given without other medicines to treat a rare lung disorder called lymphangioleiomyomatosis. This disorder happens mostly in women and causes lung tumors that are not cancerous but can affect breathing.

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

Before taking this medicine

You should not use sirolimus if you are allergic to sirolimus, or if you have ever had a lung transplant or liver transplant.

Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medicine. Sirolimus can affect your immune system and may cause overproduction of certain white blood cells. This can lead to cancer, severe brain infection causing disability or death, or a viral infection causing kidney transplant failure.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • high cholesterol or triglycerides;
  • cytomegalovirus (CMV);
  • liver disease; or
  • a family history of skin cancer (melanoma).

Do not use sirolimus if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are taking sirolimus, and for at least 12 weeks after your last dose.

You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Sirolimus should not be given to a child younger than 13 years old.

Side effects

Sirolimus may cause a serious brain infection that can lead to disability or death. Call your doctor right away if you have any change in your mental state, decreased vision, weakness on one side of your body, or problems with speech or walking. These symptoms may start gradually and get worse quickly.

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, rash, or peeling skin; wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest pain or tightness; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • redness, oozing, or slow healing of a skin wound;
  • a new skin lesion, or a mole that has changed in size or color;
  • unusual bleeding or bruising;
  • sudden chest pain or discomfort, cough, feeling short of breath;
  • tenderness around the transplanted kidney;
  • signs of infection–fever, chills, painful mouth sores, skin sores, cold or flu symptoms, pain or burning when you urinate; or
  • low red blood cells (anemia)–pale skin, unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath, cold hands and feet.

Common side effects may include:

  • fever, cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;
  • mouth sores;
  • nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea;
  • headache, muscle aches;
  • chest pain;
  • dizziness; or
  • acne.

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 sirolimus?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines. Many drugs can interact with sirolimus, especially:

  • bromocriptine (Cycloset, Parlodel);
  • cyclosporine;
  • danazol;
  • St. John’s wort;
  • tacrolimus;
  • cholesterol-lowering medication;
  • an antibiotic or antifungal medicine;
  • antiviral medicine to treat HIV or hepatitis C;
  • heart or blood pressure medication;
  • medicine to reduce stomach acid or treat an ulcer; or
  • seizure medicine.

This list is not complete, and many other drugs may affect sirolimus. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Keyword: sirolimus.

* 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.