Available by prescription only, cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®) is used to prevent the rejection of an organ transplant and to treat certain severe cases of psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Many people wonder about the actions of cyclosporine in the body, specifically how it works.
Cyclosporine belongs to a group of medications called immunosuppressants. These medications suppress the immune system, or make it less active. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis occur when the immune system attacks healthy tissue and cells; transplant rejection occurs when the immune system recognizes the transplanted organ as a foreign material and attacks it. By suppressing the immune system, cyclosporine can help prevent transplant rejection and ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
(To learn more about the mechanism of action for this drug, click Cyclosporine. This article offers a complete overview of this drug, including side effects, general safety precautions to be aware of, and tips for taking it safely.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Sandimmune [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2011 July.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed August 30, 2011.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed August 22, 2011.
National Library of Medicine (US). Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB. Accessed August 29, 2011.
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