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Cyclosporine is a medicine that weakens or suppresses the immune system, which may help decrease inflammation in the digestive tract.
Cyclosporine is used for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that has not responded to other medicines.
Medicines that suppress the immune system have been effective against IBD. Cyclosporine usually is used for ulcerative colitis that does not respond to other medicines. Cyclosporine tends to work more quickly than other immunosuppressive medicines, such as azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine, during an acute attack of IBD.
Cyclosporine has been shown to reduce the need for surgery in acute attacks of IBD. It also works to put ulcerative colitis in remission and keep the disease in remission for a short time.1 This allows people to try other medicines to suppress IBD symptoms.
Cyclosporine also is used in treating abnormal connections (fistulas) of the intestines in Crohn's disease. In rare cases, cyclosporine may be used in people with Crohn's disease that does not improve with other medicines. But the side effects of the medicine keep it from being used for very long. Symptoms usually come back when the medicine is stopped.1
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Cyclosporine may also cause side effects that your doctor will test for, including:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
When you are taking cyclosporine (and even when you have finished taking it), make sure you talk to your doctor before you get any vaccinations. Some vaccines can actually cause the disease they are trying to prevent in people who are taking cyclosporine.
Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice when you are taking this medicine.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Women who use this medicine during pregnancy have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you and your doctor must weigh the risks of using this medicine against the risks of not treating your condition.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
- American Gastroenterological Association (2006). American Gastroenterological Association Institute medical position statement on corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and infliximab in inflammatory bowel disease. Gastroenterology, 130(3): 935–939. Available online: http://www.gastro.org/practice/medical-position-statements.
Last Revised: May 14, 2012
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