1 What is Sandimmune?

Generic: Cyclosporine

Sandimmune is used to lower the activity of the immune system, which is sometimes needed for organ transplant procedures like the heart, liver, or kidney. Sandimmune (Cyclosporine) is a cyclic polypeptide immunosuppressant agent.

Sandimmune’s mechanism of action involves suppressing the body’s innate immune response to the presence of a foreign body. When a new organ is transplanted, the body may send white blood cells to fight it thinking that it’s a pathogen.

Cyclosporine decreases this response so that the transplanted organ functions well. Because of this, cyclosporine can also make you vulnerable to other infections. This medication can cause severe side effects and should be used with caution.

Although Sandimmune is mainly indicated for organ rejection prophylaxis, it has also demonstrated desirable effects in the treatment of bone marrow transplantation and nephrotic syndrome.

This medication is only available with a prescription and should only be administered by a trained healthcare professional. It is usually sold in solution form that is to be infused intravenously.

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2 What to Know Before Using

Sandimmune can cause serious side effects so you must only use it as directed by the doctor. You may have to discuss the full extent of the effects and side effects of Sandimmune with your doctor before treatment. You and your physician must talk about the risks and benefits involved in a more detailed manner. You have to be fully aware of your options and give informed consent regarding treatment.

Here are some things you need to think about before using Sandimmune. This medicine should not be used patients who are allergic to Sandimmune or polyoxyethylene castor oil.

You also need to inform your doctor about other food, drug, and animal allergies. There isn’t enough research regarding cyclosporine’s effects on children.

However, it has been used in pediatric patients without adverse effects. Sandimmune should be used with caution in patients aged 65 and older. Dosing should start at the low end.

Sandimmune should only be used in pregnant women if the benefits outweigh the risks. Sandimmune can be passed to a nursing infant through breast milk.

Therefore, if you are a lactating mother, you need to choice between stopping breastfeeding and not taking the medication.

If you are on amifampridine, bosentan, colchicine, dronedarone, pitavastatin, mifepristone, simvastatin and sitaxsentan, your physician may choose to not use Sandimmune or change any of those medications. Those medications are not to be used concomitantly with Sandimmune. A variety of medications can influence the efficacy of Sandimmune and make you vulnerable to developing untoward side effects. Make sure your physician has a list of all the medicines you are taking.

Sandimmune can also affect other medical conditions and should be used carefully in patients with anemia, bleeding problems, brain disease, cancer, visual problems, hyperkalemia, hypertension, hyperuricemia, kidney/liver disease, precancerous skin changes, history of seizures, thrombocytopenia, hypocholesterolemia, hypomagnesemia, and infections.

3 Proper Usage

Only take Sandimmune as directed by your doctor. If you are prescribed with intravenous Sandimmune, you can only have it in a hospital or doctor’s clinic. Sandimmune must be given by a trained medical professional like a nurse or a physician.

This medication is to be infused slowly over 2 to 6 hours. It is given 4 to 12 hours at 5 to 6 mg/kg before the organ transplantation.

Your doctor will switch you to an oral form once you are able to tolerate oral solutions or soft gelatin capsules. This needs to be done as soon as possible.

4 Precautions to Take

You must observe certain precautions when receiving Sandimmune. Call your doctor if you experience irregular breathing, wheezing, fainting, discoloration of the face, irregular pulse, hives, flushing of the face, and puffiness of the eyelids or around the eyes.

These may be signs of a serious allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. High doses of Sandimmune can damage your kidneys.

Inform your physician right away if you experience any change in the frequency of urination or amount of urine, blood in the urine, difficulty breathing, increased thirst, drowsiness, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, and/or swelling of the feet or lower legs.

Sandimmune can also increase your serum potassium level, so avoid taking any potassium supplements while taking this medicine.

Signs of hyperkalemia include confusion, difficulty breathing, stomach pain, irregular heartbeat, nausea or vomiting, numbness or tingling in the limbs, nervousness, shortness of breath, weakness, and/or heaviness of the legs.

Check with your healthcare provider right away if you have those. Liver problems can also develop.

Tell your physician immediately if you have tenderness in the upper stomach, dark urine, pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and/or yellow eyes or skin. Consult your doctor before getting vaccinated even after your Sandimmune treatment.

Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while being treated with this medication because these can increase Sandimmune levels in the blood and, in turn, increase side effects.

5 Potential Side Effects

Sandimmune may cause serious side effects. You should call your doctor right away if you have abdominal pain, black/tarry stools, chest pain, clay-colored stools, cough, decreased appetite, fever, itching, nervousness, pounding in the ears, shortness of breath, slow or fast heartbeat, sore throat, trembling or shaking of the hands or feet, swelling of the feet or lower legs, and unusual tiredness or weakness.

You may also have blemishes on the skin, increased hair growth, pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones, pimples and/or a runny nose. These may not need treatment but tell your physician if they do not improve or get worse.

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