What Is Cyclosporine?

The immune systems should protect an individual's body from viruses, bacteria, and other threats. However, it seems that some situations may result in it becoming unregulated. If this happens and it is left untreated, patients may deal with serious health issues. Examples may include organ damage and chronic inflammation. Thankfully, an immunosuppressant like cyclosporine may be able to treat immune system issues.

Cyclosporine tablets appear to be quite common after organ transplants. Some patients may receive them beforehand as well. However, certain cases may call for a cyclosporine oral solution. Some eye conditions seem to merit the use of this medication as prescription eye drops. It may also be a treatment for arthritis and other health problems. Patients should understand the ways in which cyclosporine pills should work, as well as their precautions, potential interactions, and side effects first.

How It Should Work 

Cyclosporine should help suppress the immune system. Evidence indicates that this can happen because the medication can reduce calcineurin. This enzyme appears to be a significant part of the immune system. It should help create T-cells, a type of white blood cell. T-cells seem to damage foreign cells in the body because they may often see them as threats. Unfortunately, T-cells may attack and damage a new organ during a transplant if it sees the organ's cells as a threat. The T-cells may also activate other white blood cells responsible for inflammation.

Patients with an overactive immune system may end up with an autoimmune disorder or another condition involving chronic inflammation. This medication, as mentioned, seems to reduce the enzyme that manages T-cells, which can help prevent these conditions.

Learn about the potential uses for this medication next.

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Potential Uses

Cyclosporine may be beneficial for health issues dealing with immune system dysfunction. Specifically, it appears to be prescribed most often for organ transplant rejection. This may also be referred to as graft rejection. It means that the patient's immune system may reject the donor organ. It may happen if the patient's immune system perceives cells in the new organ as foreign threats. This medication should stop this from occurring. The reason is that it can suppress this type of response from the patient's immune system. 

This medication also appears to be used to treat graft-versus-host disease. This condition seems to be one in which white blood cells from transplanted stem cells or bone marrow attack cells in the patient's body. Cyclosporine may benefit many inflammatory conditions in which an immune condition can result in inflammation of the eyes, skin, joints, or other body parts. Examples may include dry eye syndrome and psoriasis.

Get information on the possible side effects next.

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Possible Side Effects 

Cyclosporine may trigger mild to severe side effects. The possible side effects seem to change based on how patients receive the medication. The oral and injectable forms appear to carry high blood pressure and gum overgrowth as common side effects. Other examples may include low magnesium, excessive hair growth, tremors, and blood clots in the kidneys. Patients may experience nephrotoxicity if they take this medication in high doses or over long periods. This common side effect means that patients can have excess toxins in their kidneys. Less common side effects of this drug may include lung problems, kidney damage, and liver damage. Unfortunately, though they do not seem to be as common, they do appear to be more serious side effects.

Patients may deal with these damaging effects due to another side effect called vasoconstriction, which refers to the narrowing of blood vessels. In addition, the eye drop form of this medication may result in side effects linked to the eyes. They seem to include redness, burning, dryness, and itching. Patients also appear to be at a higher risk of infection when they are taking this medication.

Uncover the precautions to remember on this medication next.

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Precautions To Remember 

Certain patients seem to be at a higher risk of kidney damage on this medication. Thus, they may wish to talk to their doctor about this risk first. These patients appear to include seniors and those with kidney disease or high blood pressure. This increased risk also seems to apply to individuals taking creatine supplements. The reason appears to be that cyclosporine can result in increased creatinine in the blood. In addition, patients on this drug may want to avoid alcohol, as it can cause kidney and liver damage if they do not.

Liver disease patients appear to be at risk of more than liver damage on this medication. Their body may metabolize this medication at a slower rate because of their reduced liver function. Thus, they may deal with excessive amounts of it in their liver and the rest of their body. Patients with active infections may need to avoid this medication as well, since it suppresses their immune system. Patients on this medication may want to avoid individuals who are sick for the same reason.

Discover the potential medication interactions next.

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Potential Medication Interactions 

Cyclosporine should inhibit CYP3A4, an enzyme that can remove toxins and drugs from the body. Thus, taking it with certain medications may result in increased concentrations of one of the drugs. These concentrations may be dangerous in some cases. The kidneys are commonly affected, seemingly because the rate at which they excrete harmful substances can be decreased. Thus, metabolites and toxins may build in them. This drug also appears to interact with some antibiotics, cholesterol medication, and antivirals. It may trigger interactions with certain steroids and blood pressure drugs as well.

This medication, when taken with high doses of methylprednisolone, seems to have a link to neurotoxicity. Thus, some patients may experience convulsive seizures. Cyclosporine also appears to reduce magnesium in the body. Thus, it may result in serious interactions if patients take it with other magnesium-reducing medications. Overall, patients should make a list of their current medications and give it to their doctor. A discussion about these medications should help prevent potential medication interactions if they add cyclosporine.

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GoodHealthFix Staff