Cyclosporine (By mouth)


Cyclosporine (sye-kloe-SPOR-een)

Prevents organ rejection after a transplant. Also treats rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

Brand Name(s)

Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Liquid Filled Capsule, Liquid

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you. This medicine may be used with other medicines that prevent organ rejection.
  • Take this medicine the same way every day. This means take it at the same time and take it consistently with or without food.
  • Oral liquid instructions: Measure the oral liquid with the included dosing syringe. Wipe the dosing syringe with a clean towel after use and replace the cover. Do not rinse the syringe or allow any water to get into the medicine container.
    • Neoral┬« oral liquid may be added to a glass of room temperature apple juice or orange juice. Stir well, and drink the mixture right away. Add more juice to the glass and drink that too, so you get all of the medicine. Do not use a plastic cup.
    • Sandimmune┬« oral liquid may be added to a glass of room temperature milk, chocolate milk, or orange juice. Stir well, and drink the mixture right away. Add more milk or juice to the glass and drink that too, so you get all of the medicine.
  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in the original container at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Throw away any unused oral liquid 60 days after the bottle is opened for the first time.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines and foods can affect how cyclosporine works. Tell your doctor if you are using allopurinol, ambrisentan, amiodarone, bosentan, bromocriptine, colchicine, danazol, digoxin, etoposide, imatinib, metoclopramide, nefazodone, octreotide, orlistat, repaglinide, sulfinpyrazone, ticlopidine, St John's wort, or melphalan. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • a diuretic (water pill)
    • birth control pills
    • blood pressure medicine (aliskiren, diltiazem, nicardipine, nifedipine, verapamil)
    • cancer medicine (doxorubicin, daunorubicin, mitoxantrone)
    • medicine for a fungal infection (amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, terbinafine, voriconazole)
    • medicine for seizures (carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin)
    • medicine to treat an infection (azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, clarithromycin, erythromycin, gentamicin, nafcillin, quinupristin/dalfopristin, rifabutin, rifampin, tobramycin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, vancomycin)
    • medicine to lower cholesterol (atorvastatin, bezafibrate, fenofibrate, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin)
    • medicine to treat hepatitis C (boceprevir, telaprevir)
    • pain or arthritis medicine (azapropazone, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, sulindac)
    • stomach medicine (cimetidine, ranitidine)
  • Ask your doctor before you use any medicine, supplement, or salt substitute that contains potassium.
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, bleeding problems, cancer, an infection, high blood pressure, heart problems, or high potassium or low magnesium levels. Tell your doctor if you have problems absorbing nutrients from food, or if you have a history of alcohol abuse.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Kidney problems
    • Liver problems
    • An increased risk of infection (including rare and life-threatening infections)
    • An increased risk of skin cancer or cancer of the lymph nodes (lymphoma)
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in your urine, cloudy urine, lower back or side pain, change in how much or how often you urinate
  • Blurred vision, dizziness, headache, confusion, seizures
  • Chest pain or a fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat
  • Confusion, weakness, uneven heartbeat, trouble breathing, numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or lips
  • Dark urine, pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in your upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • New or worsening numbness, tingling, or loss of movement anywhere in your body
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling of your face, fingers, or lower legs
  • Seizures, tremors, fainting
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Excess hair growth on your face or body
  • Swelling and bleeding of your gums

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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