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Simulect Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 2/19/2016

Simulect (basiliximab) is an immunosuppressant drug known as a monoclonal antibody used with other medications to prevent organ rejection after a kidney transplant. Common side effects of Simulect include nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, pain or redness at the injection site, cold symptoms (stuffy nose, sore throat), acne, sleep problems (insomnia), headache, or swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.

Simulect is used as part of an immunosuppressive regimen that includes cyclosporine and corticosteroids. In adults, the recommended regimen is two doses of 20 mg each. The first dose is given within 2 hours prior to transplantation surgery and the second dose is given 4 days after transplantation. Simulect may interact with chemotherapy or radiation, steroids, sirolimus, tacrolimus, efalizumab, muromonab-CD3, mycophenolate mofetil, azathioprine, leflunomide, or etanercept. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, Simulect should be used only when prescribed. Women who may become pregnant should use birth control before beginning treatment with this drug, during use, and for 4 months after finishing treatment; consult your doctor. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Our Simulect (basiliximab) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is Patient Information in Detail?

Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.

Simulect in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; wheezing, difficult breathing and/or sneezing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • pain or burning when you urinate;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • tremors, shaking;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • trouble breathing;
  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • high potassium (slow heart rate, weak pulse, muscle weakness, tingly feeling); or
  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sore throat;
  • acne;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • nausea, constipation, stomach pain;
  • headache; or
  • swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Simulect (Basiliximab)

What is Patient Information Overview?

A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.

Simulect Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects

SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, or pain/redness at the injection site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

The use of medications that affect the immune system may lead to increased risk of infection or certain types of cancer. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fever, weakness, swollen glands, night sweats, unusual lumps, persistent cough/sore throat, sores around the mouth/genitals, pain with urination, vision changes, unexplained weight loss.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, unusually fast heartbeat, sneezing, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Read the entire patient information overview for Simulect (Basiliximab)

What is Prescribing information?

The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.

Simulect FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
(Adverse Reactions)


Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice. The adverse reaction information from clinical trials does, however, provide a basis for identifying the adverse events that appear to be related to drug use and for approximating rates.

The incidence of adverse events for Simulect® (basiliximab) was determined in four randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials for the prevention of renal allograft rejection. Two of the studies (Study 1 and Study 2), used a dual maintenance immunosuppressive regimen comprised of cyclosporine, USP (MODIFIED) and corticosteroids, whereas the other two studies (Study 3 and Study 4) used a triple-immunosuppressive regimen comprised of cyclosporine, USP (MODIFIED), corticosteroids, and either azathioprine or mycophenolate mofetil.

Simulect (basiliximab) did not appear to add to the background of adverse events seen in organ transplantation patients as a consequence of their underlying disease and the concurrent administration of immunosuppressants and other medications. Adverse events were reported by 96% of the patients in the placebo-treated group and 96% of the patients in the Simulect (basiliximab) -treated group. In the four placebo-controlled studies, the pattern of adverse events in 590 patients treated with the recommended dose of Simulect (basiliximab) was similar to that in 594 patients treated with placebo. Simulect (basiliximab) did not increase the incidence of serious adverse events observed compared with placebo.

The most frequently reported adverse events were gastrointestinal disorders, reported in 69% of Simulect (basiliximab) -treated patients and 67% of placebo-treated patients.

The incidence and types of adverse events were similar in Simulect (basiliximab) -treated and placebo-treated patients. The following adverse events occurred in ≥ 10% of Simulect (basiliximab) -treated patients: Gastrointestinal System: constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, dyspepsia; Body as a Whole-General: pain, peripheral edema, fever, viral infection; Metabolic and Nutritional: hyperkalemia, hypokalemia, hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, hypophosphatemia, hyperuricemia; Urinary System: urinary tract infection;Respiratory System: dyspnea, upper respiratory tract infection; Skin and Appendages: surgical wound complications, acne;Cardiovascular Disorders-General: hypertension; Central and Peripheral Nervous System: headache, tremor; Psychiatric: insomnia; Red Blood Cell: anemia.

The following adverse events, not mentioned above, were reported with an incidence of ≥ 3% and < 10% in pooled analysis of patients treated with Simulect (basiliximab) in the four controlled clinical trials, or in an analysis of the two dual-therapy trials: Body as a Whole-General: accidental trauma, asthenia, chest pain, increased drug level, infection, face edema, fatigue, dependent edema, generalized edema, leg edema, malaise, rigors, sepsis; Cardiovascular: abnormal heart sounds, aggravated hypertension, angina pectoris, cardiac failure, chest pain, hypotension; Endocrine: increased glucocorticoids; Gastrointestinal:enlarged abdomen, esophagitis, flatulence, gastrointestinal disorder, gastroenteritis, GI hemorrhage, gum hyperplasia, melena, moniliasis, ulcerative stomatitis; Heart Rate and Rhythm: arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia; Metabolic and Nutritional: acidosis, dehydration, diabetes mellitus, fluid overload, hypercalcemia, hyperlipemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hypocalcemia, hypoglycemia, hypomagnesemia, hypoproteinemia, weight increase; Musculoskeletal: arthralgia, arthropathy, back pain, bone fracture, cramps, hernia, myalgia, leg pain; Nervous System: dizziness, neuropathy, paraesthesia, hypoesthesia; Platelet and Bleeding: hematoma, hemorrhage, purpura, thrombocytopenia, thrombosis; Psychiatric:agitation, anxiety, depression; Red Blood Cell: polycythemia; Reproductive Disorders, Male: genital edema, impotence; Respiratory: bronchitis, bronchospasm, abnormal chest sounds, coughing, pharyngitis, pneumonia, pulmonary disorder, pulmonary edema, rhinitis, sinusitis; Skin and Appendages: cyst, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, hypertrichosis, pruritus, rash, skin disorder, skin ulceration; Urinary: albuminuria, bladder disorder, dysuria, frequent micturition, hematuria, increased non-protein nitrogen, oliguria, abnormal renal function, renal tubular necrosis, surgery, ureteral disorder, urinary retention; Vascular Disorders:vascular disorder; Vision Disorders: cataract, conjunctivitis, abnormal vision; White Blood Cell: leucopenia. Among these events, leucopenia and hypertriglyceridemia occurred more frequently in the two triple-therapy studies using azathioprine and mycophenolate mofetil than in the dual-therapy studies.


The incidence of malignancies in the controlled clinical trials of renal transplant was not significantly different between groups at 1 year (9/590 Simulect (basiliximab) -treated patients vs. 12/594 placebo-treated patients) or among patients with 5-year follow-up from Studies 1 and 2 (21/295 Simulect (basiliximab) -treated patients vs. 21/291 placebo-treated patients). The incidence of lymphoproliferative disease was not significantly different between groups, and less than 1% in the Simulect (basiliximab) -treated patients.


The overall incidence of cytomegalovirus infection was similar in Simulect (basiliximab) - and placebo-treated patients (15% vs. 17%) receiving a dual- or triple-immunosuppression regimen. However, in patients receiving a triple-immunosuppression regimen, the incidence of serious cytomegalovirus infection was higher in Simulect (basiliximab) -treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients (11% vs. 5%). The rates of infections, serious infections, and infectious organisms were similar in the Simulect (basiliximab) - and placebo-treatment groups among dual- and triple-therapy treated patients.

Post-Marketing Experience

Severe acute hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis characterized by hypotension, tachycardia, cardiac failure, dyspnea, wheezing, bronchospasm, pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, urticaria, rash, pruritus, and/or sneezing, as well as capillary leak syndrome and cytokine release syndrome, have been reported during post-marketing experience with Simulect (basiliximab) .

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Simulect (Basiliximab)

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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