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Cyclosporine for Psoriasis


Generic NameBrand Name
cyclosporineNeoral, Sandimmune

Cyclosporine is available as a shot or as a liquid or pill that you take by mouth. The dosage of cyclosporine depends on your body weight.

How It Works

Cyclosporine suppresses the immune system and may slow the rapid growth of skin cells.

Why It Is Used

Cyclosporine is very rarely used. It is used to treat severe plaque psoriasis that has not improved with the use of methotrexate.

Cyclosporine should not be used by pregnant women or women of childbearing age.

How Well It Works

Cyclosporine is effective in clearing psoriasis and may help prevent relapse (flare-ups).1

Side Effects

Side effects of cyclosporine include:

While you are taking cyclosporine, get your blood pressure and kidney function checked regularly.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about drinking grapefruit juice while you are taking cyclosporine. Grapefruit juice can increase the level of this medicine in your blood. Having too much medicine in your blood increases your chances of having serious side effects.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Cyclosporine can suppress the body's immune system, which makes fighting infections more difficult. Cyclosporine should be prescribed only by a doctor experienced in managing psoriasis.

The safety of long-term treatment with cyclosporine is not known.

Cyclosporine is not usually used to treat severe psoriasis in people who have a weakened immune system, such as people with HIV or cancer.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)Click here to view a form.(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Naldi L, Rzany B (2009). Psoriasis (chronic plaque), search date August 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence:


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAmy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Last RevisedJanuary 9, 2012

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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