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cyclosporine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to cyclosporine. 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 have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take cyclosporine:

  • psoriasis that has been treated with PUVA, UVB, radiation, methotrexate (Trexall), or coal tar; or
  • if you are also taking an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), diclofenac (Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), indomethacin (Indocin), and others.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether cyclosporine is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Cyclosporine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)?

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

You may take cyclosporine with or without food, but take it the same way each time. Cyclosporine should be given in two separate doses each day. Try to take the medication at the same dosing times each day.

If there are any changes in the brand or form of cyclosporine you use, your dosage needs may change. Always check your refills to make sure you have received the correct brand and type of medicine prescribed by your doctor.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one. Sandimmune oral solution may be mixed with milk, chocolate milk, or orange juice at room temperature to make the medicine taste better. Neoral "modified" (microemulsion) oral solution should be mixed with orange juice or apple juice that is at room temperature.

Cyclosporine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your blood pressure and kidney function may also need to be checked. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Your condition may need to be treated with a combination of different drugs. For best treatment results, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person taking cyclosporine should remain under the care of a doctor.

Store cyclosporine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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