Psoriasis Home > What Is Cyclosporine Used For?

A healthcare provider may prescribe cyclosporine for several uses, including the prevention of a transplant rejection following a kidney, liver, or heart transplant. Other approved uses include the treatment of certain cases of severe plaque psoriasis or severe, active rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes, cyclosporine may be prescribed "off-label" to treat several conditions, such as alopecia, ulcerative colitis, and psoriatic arthritis.

An Overview of Cyclosporine Uses

Cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®) is a prescription medication belonging to a group of drugs called immunosuppressants. Cyclosporine comes in its original form (Sandimmune) and as a modified form (Neoral, Gengraf) that has been slightly altered to be more easily absorbed into the body.
Cyclosporine is approved to prevent organ rejection after a kidney, liver, or heart transplant. In these cases, it is used in combination with a corticosteroid (prednisone), and possibly other medicines, such as azathioprine (Imuran®). Original cyclosporine may also be used to treat chronic transplant rejection (rejection that occurs over years) in people who were previously treated with other immunosuppressants.
Modified cyclosporine is approved for the following uses:
  • Treatment of severe plaque psoriasis in people who have failed at least one other treatment, or cannot use other treatments.
Because they are absorbed differently by the body, modified and original cyclosporine are not interchangeable with each other, and cannot be considered substitutes for one another. Do not change the type of cyclosporine you are taking without your healthcare provider's approval. You may need a dose adjustment if you switch from one product to another.
Cyclosporine is also available as cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion (Restasis®), a prescription eye drop.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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