October 6, 2008 at 3:55 am

I have no personal experience with this drug, but a number of the children I work with are on it for autoimmune diseases or to prevent “graft versus host disease” or organ “graft” rejection. My understanding is that cyclosporin is probably the “gentlest” of the immunosuppressant agents–gentler than Imuran or CellCept or perhaps prednisone/IV steroids (definitely if used longer term). The two main things that I want to add to watch out for with cyclosporin are high blood pressure and kidney damage. High blood pressure is pretty rare in children, but for those on relatively high doses of cyclosporin almost all have this. It is important to drink well if taking cyclosporin to protect the kidneys. I doubt you will be on “transplant” levels of cyclosporin, but Linda is right the side effects depend a lot of the dose given to you. Most of the treatments for autoimmune diseases use lower doses than that, at least in children. I am sure that your doctor will talk to you about side effects, but one thing to watch out for is feeling jittery or jumpy or queasy. It this happens, it may be that the level in your bloodstream is high.

One other point to make is that there are at least two major forms of cyclosporin and they are processed by the body differently. So it is really important to insist on getting the same kind of cyclosporin each time it is filled–same brand or form of generic. Cyclosporin blood levels are affected by a number of medicines including some antibiotics and some stomach medicines as well as St Johns Wort and lots of grapefruit juice so make sure all your doctors and the pharmacist know you are on cyclosporin. On another thread, the risk of lymphoma and lymphoproliferative disease has been talked about. there is that risk with any immunosuppressant, but on the span of drugs used, cyclosporin has less risk of that than, for example, CellCept because it is generally less immunosuppressive and acts slightly differently on the immune system. People always have to balance the risks of any drugs with how sick you are and the potential benefits you might get from different levels of immune suppression.

WithHope for a cure of these diseases.