Cyclosporine is a prescription immunosuppressant used to prevent the body from rejecting a newly transplanted heart, kidney, or liver. There are original formulations of the drug and also an altered form that is more easily absorbed into the bloodstream. The modified version is approved to treat certain cases of psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Side effects may include kidney problems, tremors, and high blood pressure.
What Is Cyclosporine?Cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®) is a prescription medication that belongs to a group of medicines known as immunosuppressants. It is approved to prevent organ rejection in people who have received a heart, kidney, or liver transplant. Cyclosporine may also be used to treat chronic transplant rejection in certain people.
Cyclosporine is available in an original formulation and as a modified form that has been slightly altered to be more easily absorbed by the body. Modified cyclosporine is also approved to treat severe psoriasis and severe, active rheumatoid arthritis in people who do not adequately respond to other treatments.
Original cyclosporine (Sandimmune) and modified cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral) are not interchangeable, and cannot be substituted for one another. If you need to switch from one brand or type of cyclosporine to another, only do so under the supervision of your healthcare provider. If you happen to receive a cyclosporine product that looks unfamiliar to you, check with your pharmacist to make sure you have received the correct product.
In addition, cyclosporine is an active ingredient in cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion (Restasis®), a prescription eye drop. Cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion is used to treat chronic dry eyes caused by inflammation.
(Click What is Cyclosporine Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)