Is Cyclosporine Approved to Treat Psoriatic Arthritis?
No -- this medication is not approved to treat psoriatic arthritis, but it can be used "off-label" to treat the condition. An off-label use means that a medication is being used in a way that is not officially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Off-label use is also sometimes called an "unapproved" or "nonapproved" use. It is important to keep in mind that many medicines are used appropriately and safely for off-label purposes.
How to Use Cyclosporine
Cyclosporine has been studied for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis, and appears to be effective in improving symptoms. Doses used in the studies ranged from 2.5 mg to 5 mg per kg per day (1.1 mg to 2.3 mg per pound). The medication is taken once or twice a day, depending on the particular product. Once treatment begins, it generally takes four to eight weeks for symptoms to improve.
It is important to keep in mind that, like any medicine, cyclosporine can cause side effects. Some of the most common cyclosporine side effects include tremors, high blood pressure (hypertension), and abnormal facial or body hair growth. Some reactions, such as kidney and liver problems, are potentially serious.
Because cyclosporine suppresses the immune system, it can increase your risk for developing an infection or getting certain types of cancer (see Precautions and Warnings With Cyclosporine). If you have received other treatments for psoriasis in the past, you may have an increased risk for skin cancer when taking cyclosporine.
Because of the risk for potentially serious side effects, cyclosporine is generally reserved for severe cases that have not responded to other treatments. People who take this medicine need routine blood tests and blood pressure monitoring. If you begin to experience side effects, your healthcare provider may lower your dose, or recommend you stop taking the medicine altogether.
Ash Z, Gaujoux-Viala C, Gossec L et al. A systematic literature review of drug therapies for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis: current evidence and meta-analysis informing the EULAR recommendations for the management of psoriatic arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis 2011 July. doi:10.1136/ard.2011.150995.
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