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Details with Side Effects
Kidney, Liver, and Heart Transplantation
Hypertension, which is usually mild to moderate, may occur in approximately 50% of patients following renal transplantation and in most cardiac transplant patients.
Glomerular Capillary Thrombosis
Glomerular capillary thrombosis has been found in patients treated with cyclosporine and may progress to graft failure. The pathologic changes resembled those seen in the hemolytic-uremic syndrome and included thrombosis of the renal microvasculature, with platelet-fibrin thrombi occluding glomerular capillaries and afferent arterioles, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and decreased renal function. Similar findings have been observed when other immunosuppressives have been employed post-transplantation.
Hypomagnesemia has been reported in some, but not all, patients exhibiting convulsions while on cyclosporine therapy. Although magnesium-depletion studies in normal subjects suggest that hypomagnesemia is associated with neurologic disorders, multiple factors, including hypertension, high dose methylprednisolone, hypocholesterolemia, and nephrotoxicity associated with high plasma concentrations of cyclosporine appear to be related to the neurological manifestations of cyclosporine toxicity.
In controlled studies, the nature, severity, and incidence of the adverse events that were observed in 493 transplanted patients treated with Neoral® were comparable with those observed in 208 transplanted patients who received Sandimmune® in these same studies when the dosage of the two drugs was adjusted to achieve the same cyclosporine blood trough concentrations.
Based on the historical experience with Sandimmune®, the following reactions occurred in 3% or greater of 892 patients involved in clinical trials of kidney, heart, and liver transplants.
|Body System||Adverse Reactions||Randomized Kidney Patients||Cyclosporine Patients (Sandimmune®)|
|Cramps||4||< 1||2||< 1||0|
|Central Nervous System||Tremor||12||0||21||31||55|
|Hepatotoxicity Abdominal||< 1||< 1||4||7||4|
|Discomfort||< 1||0||< 1||7||0|
|Autonomic Nervous System||Paresthesia||3||0||1||2||1|
|Miscellaneous||Gynecomastia||< 1||0||< 1||4||3|
Among 705 kidney transplant patients treated with cyclosporine oral solution (Sandimmune®) in clinical trials, the reason for treatment discontinuation was renal toxicity in 5.4%, infection in 0.9%, lack of efficacy in 1.4%, acute tubular necrosis in 1.0%, lymphoproliferative disorders in 0.3%, hypertension in 0.3%, and other reasons in 0.7% of the patients.
The following reactions occurred in 2% or less of cyclosporine-treated patients: allergic reactions, anemia, anorexia, confusion, conjunctivitis, edema, fever, brittle fingernails, gastritis, hearing loss, hiccups, hyperglycemia, migraine (Neoral®) muscle pain, peptic ulcer, thrombocytopenia, tinnitus.
The following reactions occurred rarely: anxiety, chest pain, constipation, depression, hair breaking, hematuria, joint pain, lethargy, mouth sores, myocardial infarction, night sweats, pancreatitis, pruritus, swallowing difficulty, tingling, upper GI bleeding, visual disturbance, weakness, weight loss.
Patients receiving immunosuppressive therapies, including cyclosporine and cyclosporine -containing regimens, are at increased risk of infections (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic). Both generalized and localized infections can occur. Pre-existing infections may also be aggravated. Fatal outcomes have been reported. (see WARNINGS)
Infectious Complications in Historical Randomized Studies
in Renal Transplant Patients Using Sandimmune®
% of Complications
|Azathioprine with Steroids*
% of Complications
|Systemic Fungal Infection||2.2||3.9|
|Local Fungal Infection||7.5||9.6|
|Other Viral Infections||15.9||18.4|
|Urinary Tract Infections||21.1||20.2|
|Wound and Skin Infections||7.0||10.1|
|*Some patients also received ALG.|
Postmarketing Experience, Kidney, Liver and Heart Transplantation
Increased Risk of Infections
Cases of JC virus-associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), sometimes fatal; and polyoma virus-associated nephropathy (PVAN), especially BK virus resulting in graft loss have been reported. [See WARNINGS/ Polyoma Virus Infection]
Headache, including Migraine
Cases of migraine have been reported. In some cases, patients have been unable to continue cyclosporine, however, the final decision on treatment discontinuation should be made by the treating physician following the careful assessment of benefits versus risks.
The principal adverse reactions associated with the use of cyclosporine in rheumatoid arthritis are renal dysfunction (see WARNINGS), hypertension (see PRECAUTIONS), headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, and hirsutism/hypertrichosis.
In rheumatoid arthritis patients treated in clinical trials within the recommended dose range, cyclosporine therapy was discontinued in 5.3% of the patients because of hypertension and in 7% of the patients because of increased creatinine. These changes are usually reversible with timely dose decrease or drug discontinuation. The frequency and severity of serum creatinine elevations increase with dose and duration of cyclosporine therapy. These elevations are likely to become more pronounced without dose reduction or discontinuation.
The following adverse events occurred in controlled clinical trials:
Neoral®/Sandimmune® Rheumatoid Arthritis Percentage of Patients with Adverse Events ≥ 3%
in any Cyclosporine Treated Group
|Studies 651+652+2008||Study 302||Study 654||Study 654||Study 302||Studies 651+652+2008|
|Methotrexate & Sandimmune®
|Methotrexate & Placebo
|Autonomic Nervous System Disorders|
|Body As A Whole-General Disorders|
|Edema NOS*||5%||14%||12%||4%||10%||< 1%|
|Influenza-like symptoms||< 1%||6%||1%||0%||3%||2%|
|Central and Peripheral Nervous System Disorders|
|Gastrointestinal System Disorders|
|Gastrointestinal Disorder NOS*||0%||2%||1%||4%||4%||0%|
|Hearing and Vestibular Disorders|
|Ear Disorder NOS*||0%||5%||0%||0%||1%||0%|
|Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders|
|Musculoskeletal System Disorders|
|Arthropathy Leg Cramps / Involuntary||0%||5%||0%||1%||4%||0%|
|Creatinine elevations ≥ 30%||43%||39%||55%||19%||48%||13%|
|Creatinine elevations ≥ 50%||24%||18%||26%||8%||18%||3%|
|Reproductive Disorders, Female|
|Respiratory System Disorders|
|Upper Respiratory Tract||0%||14%||23%||15%||13%||0%|
|Skin and Appendages Disorders|
|Urinary System Disorders|
|Urinary Tract Infection||0%||3%||5%||4%||3%||0%|
|Vascular (Extracardiac) Disorders|
|† Includes patients in 2.5
mg/kg/day dose group only.
*NOS = Not Otherwise Specified.
In addition, the following adverse events have been reported in 1% to < 3% of the rheumatoid arthritis patients in the cyclosporine treatment group in controlled clinical trials.
Autonomic Nervous System: dry mouth, increased sweating;
Cardiovascular: abnormal heart sounds, cardiac failure, myocardial infarction, peripheral ischemia;
Gastrointestinal: constipation, dysphagia, enanthema, eructation, esophagitis, gastric ulcer, gastritis, gastroenteritis, gingival bleeding, glossitis, peptic ulcer, salivary gland enlargement, tongue disorder, tooth disorder;
Liver and Biliary System: bilirubinemia;
Neoplasms: breast fibroadenosis, carcinoma;
Psychiatric: anxiety, confusion, decreased libido, emotional lability, impaired concentration, increased libido, nervousness, paroniria, somnolence;
Reproductive (Female): breast pain, uterine hemorrhage;
Respiratory System: abnormal chest sounds, bronchospasm;
*NOS = Not Otherwise Specified.
The principal adverse reactions associated with the use of cyclosporine in patients with psoriasis are renal dysfunction, headache, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, hirsutism/hypertrichosis, paresthesia or hyperesthesia, influenza-like symptoms, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, and musculoskeletal or joint pain.
In psoriasis patients treated in US controlled clinical studies within the recommended dose range, cyclosporine therapy was discontinued in 1.0% of the patients because of hypertension and in 5.4% of the patients because of increased creatinine. In the majority of cases, these changes were reversible after dose reduction or discontinuation of cyclosporine.
There has been one reported death associated with the use of cyclosporine in psoriasis. A 27-year-old male developed renal deterioration and was continued on cyclosporine. He had progressive renal failure leading to death.
Frequency and severity of serum creatinine increases with dose and duration of cyclosporine therapy. These elevations are likely to become more pronounced and may result in irreversible renal damage without dose reduction or discontinuation.
Adverse Events Occurring in 3%
or More of Psoriasis Patients in Controlled Clinical Trials
|Body System*||Preferred Term||Neoral®
|Infection or Potential Infection||24.7%||24.3%|
|Upper Respiratory Tract Infections||7.7%||11.3%|
|Central and Peripheral Nervous System||26.4%||20.5%|
|Body As a Whole-General||29.1%||22.2%|
|Metabolic and Nutritional||9.3%||9.7%|
|Reproductive, Female||8.5% (4 of 47 females)||11.5% (6 of 52 females)|
|Skin and Appendages||17.6%||15.1%|
|Bronchospasm, Coughing, Dyspnea, Rhinitis||5.0%||4.9%|
|White cell and RES||4.4%||2.7%|
|*Total percentage of events within the system
**Newly occurring hypertension = SBP ≥ 160 mm Hg and/or DBP ≥ 90 mm Hg
The following events occurred in 1% to less than 3% of psoriasis patients treated with cyclosporine:
Body as a Whole: fever, flushes, hot flushes;
Cardiovascular: chest pain;
Central and Peripheral Nervous System:appetite increased, insomnia, dizziness, nervousness, vertigo;
Gastrointestinal: abdominal distention, constipation, gingival bleeding;
Liver and Biliary System: hyperbilirubinemia;
Neoplasms: skin malignancies [squamous cell (0.9%) and basal cell (0.4%) carcinomas];
Reticuloendothelial: platelet, bleeding, and clotting disorders, red blood cell disorder;
Respiratory: infection, viral and other infection;
Skin and Appendages: acne, folliculitis, keratosis, pruritus, rash, dry skin;
Urinary System: micturition frequency;
Vision: abnormal vision.
Mild hypomagnesemia and hyperkalemia may occur but are asymptomatic. Increases in uric acid may occur and attacks of gout have been rarely reported. A minor and dose related hyperbilirubinemia has been observed in the absence of hepatocellular damage. Cyclosporine therapy may be associated with a modest increase of serum triglycerides or cholesterol. Elevations of triglycerides ( > 750 mg/dL) occur in about 15% of psoriasis patients; elevations of cholesterol ( > 300 mg/dL) are observed in less than 3% of psoriasis patients. Generally these laboratory abnormalities are reversible upon dose reduction or discontinuation of cyclosporine.
Read the Neoral (cyclosporine) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
Effect of Drugs and Other Agents on Cyclosporine Pharmacokinetics and/or Safety
All of the individual drugs cited below are well substantiated to interact with cyclosporine. In addition, concomitant non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, particularly in the setting of dehydration, may potentiate renal dysfunction.
Drugs That May Potentiate Renal Dysfunction
|Antibiotics||Antineoplastics||Antifungals||Anti-inflammatory Drugs||Gastrointestinal Agents||Immunosuppressives||Other Drugs|
trimethoprim with sulfamethoxazole
|tacrolimus||fibric acid derivatives (e.g., bezafibrate, fenofibrate)
Cyclosporine is extensively metabolized by CYP 3A isoenzymes, in particular CYP3A4, and is a substrate of the multidrug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein. Various agents are known to either increase or decrease plasma or whole blood of cyclosporine levels usually by inhibition or induction of CYP3A4 or P-glycoprotein transporter or both. Compounds that decrease cyclosporine absorption such as orlistat should be avoided. Monitoring of circulating cyclosporine concentrations and appropriate Neoral® dosage adjustment are essential when these drugs are used concomitantly. (See Blood Concentration Monitoring)
Drugs That Increase Cyclosporine Concentrations
|Calcium Channel Blockers||Antifungals||Antibiotics||Glucocorticoids||Other Drugs|
danazol imatinib metoclopramide nefazodone oral contraceptives
HIV Protease inhibitors
The HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, and saquinavir) are known to inhibit cytochrome P-450 3A and thus could potentially increase the concentrations of cyclosporine, however no formal studies of the interaction are available. Care should be exercised when these drugs are administered concomitantly.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice affect metabolism, increasing blood concentrations of cyclosporine, thus should be avoided.
Drugs/Dietary Supplements That Decrease
|Antibiotics||Anticonvulsants||Other Drugs/Dietary Supplements|
sulfinpyrazone terbinafine ticlopidine
St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort
There have been reports of a serious drug interaction between cyclosporine and the herbal dietary supplement, St. John's Wort. This interaction has been reported to produce a marked reduction in the blood concentrations of cyclosporine, resulting in subtherapeutic levels, rejection of transplanted organs, and graft loss.
Rifabutin is known to increase the metabolism of other drugs metabolized by the cytochrome P-450 system. The interaction between rifabutin and cyclosporine has not been studied. Care should be exercised when these two drugs are administered concomitantly.
Effect of Cyclosporine on the Pharmacokinetics and/or Safety of Other Drugs or Agents
Cyclosporine is an inhibitor of CYP3A4 and of the multidrug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein and may increase plasma concentrations of comedications that are substrates of CYP3A4 or Pglycoprotein or both.
Cyclosporine may reduce the clearance of digoxin, colchicine, prednisolone, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), and, aliskiren, repaglinide, NSAIDs, sirolimus, etoposide, and other drugs. See the full prescribing information of the other drug for further information and specific recommendations. The decision on co-administration of cyclosporine with other drugs or agents should be made by the physician following the careful assessment of benefits and risks.
Severe digitalis toxicity has been seen within days of starting cyclosporine in several patients taking digoxin. If digoxin is used concurrently with cyclosporine, serum digoxin concentrations should be monitored.
There are reports on the potential of cyclosporine to enhance the toxic effects of colchicine such as myopathy and neuropathy, especially in patients with renal dysfunction. Concomitant administration of cyclosporine and colchicine results in significant increases in colchicine plasma concentrations. If colchicine is used concurrently with cyclosporine, a reduction in the dosage of colchicine is recommended.
HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins)
Literature and postmarketing cases of myotoxicity, including muscle pain and weakness, myositis, and rhabdomyolysis, have been reported with concomitant administration of cyclosporine with lovastatin, simvastatin, atorvastatin, pravastatin, and, rarely fluvastatin. When concurrently administered with cyclosporine, the dosage of these statins should be reduced according to label recommendations. Statin therapy needs to be temporarily withheld or discontinued in patients with signs and symptoms of myopathy or those with risk factors predisposing to severe renal injury, including renal failure, secondary to rhabdomyolysis.
Cyclosporine may increase the plasma concentrations of repaglinide and thereby increase the risk of hypoglycemia. In 12 healthy male subjects who received two doses of 100mg cyclosporine capsule orally 12 hours apart with a single dose of 0.25mg repaglinide tablet (one half of a 0.5mg tablet) orally 13 hours after the cyclosporine initial dose, the repaglinide mean Cmax and AUC were increased 1.8 fold (range: 0.6 - 3.7 fold) and 2.4 fold (range 1.2 - 5.3 fold), respectively. Close monitoring of blood glucose level is advisable for a patient taking cyclosporine and repaglinide concomitantly.
Cyclosporine alters the pharmacokinetics of aliskiren, a substrate of P-glycoprotein and CYP3A4. In 14 healthy subjects who received concomitantly single doses of cyclosporine (200 mg) and reduced dose aliskiren (75 mg), the mean Cmax of aliskiren was increased by approximately 2.5 fold (90% CI: 1.96 - 3.17) and the mean AUC by approximately 4.3 fold (90% CI: 3.52 - 5.21), compared to when these subjects received aliskiren alone. The concomitant administration of aliskiren with cyclosporine prolonged the median aliskiren elimination half-life (26 hours versus 43 to 45 hours) and the Tmax (0.5 hours versus 1.5 to 2.0 hours). The mean AUC and Cmax of cyclosporine were comparable to reported literature values. Co-administration of cyclosporine and aliskiren in these subjects also resulted in an increase in the number and/or intensity of adverse events, mainly headache, hot flush, nausea, vomiting, and somnolence. The co-administration of cyclosporine with aliskiren is not recommended.
Cyclosporine should not be used with potassium-sparing diuretics because hyperkalemia can occur. Caution is also required when cyclosporine is co-administered with potassium sparing drugs (e.g. angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists), potassium containing drugs as well as in patients on a potassium rich diet. Control of potassium levels in these situations is advisable.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) Interactions
Clinical status and serum creatinine should be closely monitored when cyclosporine is used with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents in rheumatoid arthritis patients. (See WARNINGS)
Pharmacodynamic interactions have been reported to occur between cyclosporine and both naproxen and sulindac, in that concomitant use is associated with additive decreases in renal function, as determined by 99mTc-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) and (p-aminohippuric acid) PAH clearances. Although concomitant administration of diclofenac does not affect blood concentrations of cyclosporine, it has been associated with approximate doubling of diclofenac blood concentrations and occasional reports of reversible decreases in renal function. Consequently, the dose of diclofenac should be in the lower end of the therapeutic range.
Preliminary data indicate that when methotrexate and cyclosporine were co-administered to rheumatoid arthritis patients (N=20), methotrexate concentrations (AUCs) were increased approximately 30% and the concentrations (AUCs) of its metabolite, 7-hydroxy methotrexate, were decreased by approximately 80%. The clinical significance of this interaction is not known. Cyclosporine concentrations do not appear to have been altered (N=6).
Elevations in serum creatinine were observed in studies using sirolimus in combination with full-dose cyclosporine. This effect is often reversible with cyclosporine dose reduction. Simultaneous coadministration of cyclosporine significantly increases blood concentrations of sirolimus. To minimize increases in sirolimus concentrations, it is recommended that sirolimus be given 4 hours after cyclosporine administration.
Frequent gingival hyperplasia when nifedipine is given concurrently with cyclosporine have been reported.
Convulsions when high dose methylprednisolone is given concurrently with cyclosporine have been reported.
Other Immunosuppressive Drugs and Agents
Psoriasis patients receiving other immunosuppressive agents or radiation therapy (including PUVA and UVB) should not receive concurrent cyclosporine because of the possibility of excessive immunosuppression.
Effect of Cyclosporine on the Efficacy of Live Vaccines
For additional information on Cyclosporine Drug Interactions please contact Novartis Medical Affairs Department at 888-NOW-NOVA [888-669-6682].
Read the Neoral Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/12/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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