Cyclosporine works to suppress the immune system. It stops white blood cells, called T cells, from being active and causing inflammation.

It is a pill that you will take by mouth. It often leads to fast improvement in your skin rash, ranging from two weeks to three to four months. It can be taken while you and your doctor talk about other long-term treatments. This is often not used for more than one year.

Side effects of cyclosporine

  • Higher risk of infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Lower kidney function
  • Changes in electrolyte levels
  • High cholesterol
  • Skin may be more sensitive to the sun

We will check for these changes with blood tests and by checking your blood pressure.

Other side effects of cyclosporine

  • More hair growth
  • Nausea (feeling you need to vomit)
  • Diarrhea 
  • Headache
  • Growth of your gums
  • Long-term kidney or liver damage

Rare side effects are a higher risk of skin cancers and lymphoma.

Call your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms.

How to take cyclosporine

Take this medicine at the same time each day. If you take it with food, take it with food each day.

Do not eat or drink grapefruit, grapefruit juice, or St. John’s wort. These may make it less effective.

Last reviewed: 
August 2018

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