Cyclosporine is a medicine that lowers the body’s natural immunity. The immune system response is thought to be involved in Nephrotic Syndrome. It is also used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, such as the kidney, heart, and liver.
Why is cyclosporine needed for Nephrotic Syndrome patients?
There is consistent scientific evidence that cyclosporine reduces proteins in the urine and induces remission. Cyclosporine’s success rate for inducing remission of idiopathic Nephrotic Syndrome is very high for the steroid-dependent forms, especially in minimal change disease. It’s success rate is lowest in steroid-resistant idiopathic Nephrotic Syndrome, especially in Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).
How should I take cyclosporine? How is cyclosporine administered?
Cyclosporine comes in a capsule, tablet, or liquid form.
If the liquid form is taken you should measure the correct amount using an oral syringe or medicine spoon. (You can get these from your pharmacist.) Do not use a kitchen teaspoon because you will not be able to measure out the correct amount.
Take cyclosporine at the same time every day. Doses should be at least 12 hours apart. Pick times that are easy for you so that you do not miss doses.
You should consult your doctor before you stop taking this medicine or before you change the amount for any reason. You may become ill if you stop taking this medicine suddenly.
You may want to take cyclosporine with some food if the medicine upsets your stomach. Try to keep the type of food and amount of food the same. Changes in the diet may change how cyclosporine is absorbed.
What are the possible side effects of cyclosporine?
You may experience some of these side effects while on cyclosporine. Check with your doctor if you continue to have any of these side effects and they do not go away:
- Increased hair growth
- Leg cramps
- Trembling or shaking of hands (tremor)
- Mild headache
- Upset stomach, vomiting (throwing up), or diarrhea (loose stools)
Call your doctor right away or go to the emergency room if you experience any of these side effects:
- Bleeding, tender, or enlarged gums
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Unexplained nervousness
- Numbness or tingling of hands, feet, or lips
- Blurry vision or changes in eyesight
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Decrease in amount of urine produced
- Skin rash
Most of the following side effects are not common, but they may be a sign of a serious problem. Call your doctor right away or go to the emergency room if you experience any of these side effects:
- Fever, chills
- Cough or sore throat
- Blood in urine, difficulty urinating, or pain with urination
- Severe headache
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Chest pain
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Severe stomach pain
- Flushing of the face and neck (with injection only)
What are precautionary measures I should take while taking cyclosporine?
Cyclosporine lowers the body’s immunity, which increases chances of getting an infection. Watch closely for signs of infection such as a fever, chills, cough, and sore throat. Contact your doctor right away if you notice any signs of infection.
You should not receive any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor’s approval.
You should not eat grapefruits or drink grapefruit juice while taking cyclosporine. This may make the cyclosporine level in your blood go up and increase the chance of having side effects.
Many other medications may change the blood levels of cyclosporine in your body. Check with your doctor before taking any other medicines (prescription, non-prescription, herbal, or natural products).
Tell your doctor that you are taking cyclosporine before you have any operation, dental procedure, or an emergency treatment.
Cyclosporine may cause birth defects if it is taken at the time of conception or during pregnancy.
*Note: The decision to prescribe a medication is the responsibility of your physician/primary care provider based on his/her evaluation of your condition. The above is meant for informational purposes only. Discuss this information and all information about drugs/medications with your physician before starting or stopping any medication.