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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 resemble those seen in the hemolytic-uremic syndrome and include 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 posttransplantation.
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.
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||All Sandimmune® (cyclosporine) Patients|
|Cramps||4||< 1||2||< 1||0|
|Central Nervous System|
|Hepatotoxicity||< 1||< 1||4||7||4|
|Abdominal Discomfort||< 1||0||< 1||7||0|
|Autonomic Nervous System|
|Gynecomastia||< 1||0||< 1||4||3|
The following reactions occurred in 2% or less of patients: allergic reactions, anemia, anorexia, confusion, conjunctivitis, edema, fever, brittle fingernails, gastritis, hearing loss, hiccups, hyperglycemia, 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.
Renal Transplant Patients in Whom Therapy Was
|Reason for Discontinuation||Randomized Patients||All Sandimmune® Patients
|Lack of Efficacy||2.6||0.9||1.4|
|Acute Tubular Necrosis||2.6||0||1.0|
|Sandimmune® (cyclosporine) was discontinued on a temporary basis and then restarted in 18 additional patients.|
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 the Randomized Renal
% of Complications
% 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.|
Cremophor® EL (polyoxyethylated castor oil) is known to cause hyperlipemia and electrophoretic abnormalities of lipoproteins. These effects are reversible upon discontinuation of treatment but are usually not a reason to stop treatment.
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.
Read the Sandimmune (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 use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with cyclosporine, particularly in the setting of dehydration, may potentiate renal dysfunction. Caution should be exercised when using other drugs which are known to impair renal function. (See WARNINGS, Nephrotoxicity)
Drugs That May Potentiate Renal Dysfunction
|Antibiotics||Antineoplastic||Antifungals||Anti- Inflammatory Drugs||Gastrointestinal Agents||Immunosuppressives||Other Drugs|
|ciprofloxacin||melphalan||amphotericin B||azapropazon||cimetidine||tacrolimus||fibric acid derivatives (e.g., bezafibrate, fenofibrate)|
|gentamicin tobramycin trimethoprim with sulfamethoxazole||ketoconazole||colchicine diclofenac naproxen||ranitidine||methotrexate|
During the concomitant use of a drug that may exhibit additive or synergistic renal impairment potential with cyclosporine, close monitoring of renal function (in particular serum creatinine) should be performed. If a significant impairment of renal function occurs, reduction in the dosage of cyclosporine and/or co-administered drug or an alternative treatment should be considered.
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 concentrations of cyclosporine usually by inhibition or induction of CYP3A4 or P-glycoprotein transporter or both. Compounds that decrease cyclosporine absorption such as orlistat should be avoided. Appropriate Sandimmune® (cyclosporine) dosage adjustment to achieve the desired cyclosporine concentrations is essential when drugs that significantly alter cyclosporine concentrations are used concomitantly. (See Blood Concentration Monitoring.)
Drugs That Increase Cyclosporine Concentrations
|Calcium Channel Blockers||Antifungals||Antibiotics||Glucocorticoids||Other Drugs|
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 Cyclosporine Concentrations
|Antibiotics||Anticonvulsants||Other Drugs / Dietary Supplements|
|carbamazepine oxcarbazepine phenobarbital phenytoin||bosentan
|St. John’s Wort|
Co-administration of bosentan (250 - 1000 mg every 12 hours based on tolerability) and cyclosporine (300 mg every 12 hours for 2 days then dosing to achieve a Cmin of 200-250 ng/mL) for 7 days in healthy subjects resulted in decreases in the cyclosporine mean dose-normalized AUC, Cmax, and trough concentration of approximately 50%, 30% and 60%, respectively, compared to when cyclosporine was given alone. (See also Effect of Cyclosporine on the Pharmacokinetics and/or Safety of Other Drugs or Agents)
Co-administration of boceprevir (800 mg three times daily for 7 days) and cyclosporine (100 mg single dose) in healthy subjects resulted in increases in the mean AUC and Cmax of cyclosporine approximately 2.7-fold and 2-fold, respectively, compared to when cyclosporine was given alone.
Co-administration of telaprevir (750 mg every 8 hours for 11 days) with cyclosporine (10 mg on day 8) in healthy subjects resulted in increases in the mean dose-normalized AUC and Cmax of cyclosporine approximately 4.5-fold and 1.3-fold, respectively, compared to when cyclosporine (100 mg single dose) was given alone.
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 P-glycoprotein 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 Co-A 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.
Co-administration of ambrisentan (5 mg daily) and cyclosporine (100-150 mg twice daily initially, then dosing to achieve Cmin 150-200 ng/mL) for 8 days in healthy subjects resulted mean increases in ambrisentan AUC and Cmax of approximately 2-fold and 1.5-fold, respectively, compared to ambrisentan alone.
High doses of cyclosporine (e.g., at starting intravenous dose of 16 mg/kg/day) may increase the exposure to anthracycline antibiotics (e.g., doxorubicin, mitoxantrone, daunorubicin) in cancer patients.
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.
In healthy subjects, co-administration of bosentan and cyclosporine resulted in mean increases in dose-normalized bosentan trough concentrations on day 1 and day 8 of approximately 21-fold and 2fold , respectively, compared to when bosentan was given alone as a single dose on day 1. (See also Effect of Drugs and Other Agents on Cyclosporine Pharmacokinetics and/or Safety)
Potassium sparing diuretics
Cyclosporine should not be used with potassium-sparing diuretics because hyperkalemia can occur. Caution is also required when cyclosporine is coadministered 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
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 levels 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 coadministered 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 levels of sirolimus. To minimize increases in sirolimus blood concentrations, it is recommended that sirolimus be given 4 hours after cyclosporine administration.
Frequent gingival hyperplasia when nifedipine is given concurrently with cyclosporine has been reported. The concomitant use of nifedipine should be avoided in patients in whom gingival hyperplasia develops as a side effect of cyclosporine.
Convulsions when high dose methylprednisolone is given concomitantly 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.
C. 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 Sandimmune Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions
Last reviewed on RxList: 5/17/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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