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What is cyclosporine?

Cyclosporine (also called Cyclosporine A or Gengraf®) is an immunosupressive medicine. It is used to decrease the natural immune response and prevent graft rejection in bone marrow transplant patients. It is also used to treat aplastic anemia. Oral cyclosporine is available in the Gengraf® brand as 25-mg and 100-mg white capsules, and as a clear liquid; all are taken by mouth. Cyclosporine is also available as a clear liquid given by vein (IV).

Possible side effects of cyclosporine


  • Nausea and vomiting

Later (usually more than a day after treatment is started)

  • Decreased kidney function
  • Decreased liver function
  • High blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Increased hair on body and face
  • Changes in appearance, such as puffy cheeks and enlarged brow and gums
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Loss of balance
  • Seizures
  • Low blood magnesium levels
  • High blood potassium levels

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for cyclosporine

  • Cyclosporine must be taken the same way each day. Taking the medicine at the same time each day and at the same time in relation to meals will help keep a constant amount of cyclosporine in your body.
  • Do not switch brands of cyclosporine unless your doctor tells you to do so.
  • Swallow capsules whole. Do not cut, crush, or chew capsules.
  • If you miss a dose and the next dose is not due for at least 4 hours, take the missed dose right away. If the next dose is due in less than 4 hours, do not take the missed dose. Take the next dose at the scheduled time. Never take a double dose unless instructed to do so by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Taking the medicine with meals may lessen stomach problems.
  • For liquid cyclosporine, you will get a special dropper to measure the medicine. To improve its taste, you can mix the liquid medicine with orange juice or apple juice (preferably at room temperature) in a glass container and stir well. Take the medicine right away. Then add a little juice to the glass, swish it around, and drink that. Never take cyclosporine with grapefruit juice.
  • If you vomit within 20 minutes after a dose, repeat the full dose again.
  • Be sure you drink a lot of liquids while you are taking cyclosporine. This lessens the chance of kidney damage.
  • Blood will be drawn regularly to check potassium and magnesium levels in the blood, and to monitor kidney and liver function.
  • Some medicines may either change the blood level of cyclosporine or increase the side effects of cyclosporine. These medicines include: erythromycin, ketoconazole, fluconazole, fluoxetine, itraconazole, metoclopramide, methylprednisolone, rifampin, clarithromycin, carbamazepine, omeprazole, phenytoin, phenobarbital, potassium-sparing diuretics, digoxin, verapamil, and diltiazem. Always tell your doctor if you are taking these medicines, or if you start taking any new medicine while taking cyclosporine.

Cyclosporine blood levels

You will be notified if blood will be drawn to measure cyclosporine levels in your body. On that day, do not take the medicine until after the blood sample is drawn. If you have already taken cyclosporine before the level is drawn, please tell your doctor or pharmacist. The staff will need to reschedule your cyclosporine blood level test.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).