Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Cancer: Cyclosporine reduces the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). This may increase your risk of developing infections and cancer, especially those of the skin and lymphoid tissue.
People with psoriasis may be at increased risk of developing skin cancer as a result of previous psoriasis treatments. While you are taking cyclosporine, it is important to limit your exposure to the sun and use appropriate sun protection such as sunscreen and protective clothing. Your doctor will monitor you for skin cancer while you are taking this medication. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Dental health: It is particularly important to maintain good dental hygiene while you are on this medication, and to see a dentist regularly for teeth cleaning.
High blood pressure: This medication may cause high blood pressure. Your doctor should monitor your blood pressure regularly while you are taking this medication.
High cholesterol: This medication may increase cholesterol. Your doctor should monitor the amount of cholesterol in your blood regularly while you are taking cyclosporine.
Infection: Cyclosporine works by reducing the number of white blood cells in the body, making it easier to develop an infection. If possible, avoid contact with people who have contagious infections. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Kidney function: Cyclosporine can have harmful effects on the kidney when taken for long periods of time. If you experience signs of decreased kidney function, such as reduced urine production, fluid build-up or swelling in the ankles, feet and hands, fatigue or abdominal pain, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: People taking cyclosporine may have changes in liver function that produce abnormal liver test results. Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Your doctor will likely recommend regular liver tests while you are taking this medication. If you have severe changes in liver function, your doctor may recommend that you take a lower dose of this medication or stop taking it altogether.
If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Potassium levels: Cyclosporine increases the risk of high levels of potassium in your body, especially for people who have decreased kidney function. Your doctor will monitor the amount of potassium in your blood with blood tests. If you experience unexplained nausea, fatigue, muscle weakness, or tingling sensations, contact your doctor, as these may be signs of too much potassium.
Vaccines: People taking cyclosporine may not respond as well to vaccines or may be at risk of becoming ill from a live vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you need any vaccinations while taking this medication.
Pregnancy: This medication should be used during pregnancy only if the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. Do not stop taking this medication without guidance from your doctor.
Breast-feeding: Cyclosporine passes into breast milk and may affect your baby. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking cyclosporine, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: Many studies have shown that children require higher doses per kilogram of body weight than adults. Cyclosporine is not recommended for children in the treatment of psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis.