Sandimmune Side Effects

Generic Name: cyclosporine

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug cyclosporine. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Sandimmune.

It is possible that some side effects of Sandimmune may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

For the Consumer

Applies to cyclosporine: oral capsule, oral capsule liquid filled, oral solution

Other dosage forms:

As well as its needed effects, cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking cyclosporine, check with your doctor immediately:

More common
  • Abdominal or stomach pain or tenderness
  • back pain
  • black, tarry stools
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clay colored stools
  • cloudy urine
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • decrease in urine output or decrease in urine-concentrating ability
  • decreased appetite
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • fever
  • headache
  • headache, severe and throbbing
  • itching
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle spasms (tetany) or twitching
  • nausea and vomiting
  • nervousness
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pounding in the ears
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • swollen glands
  • trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • yellow eyes or skin
Less common
  • Bleeding gums
  • blood in the urine
  • blood in the vomit
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • convulsions
  • difficulty swallowing
  • hives
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • severe or continuing stomach pain
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing with exertion
Rare
  • Bloating
  • chest discomfort
  • constipation
  • darkened urine
  • hoarseness
  • indigestion
  • lower back or side pain
  • night sweats
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • sweating
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

Some cyclosporine side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common
  • Abdominal or stomach discomfort
  • bleeding, tender, or enlarged gums
  • blemishes on the skin
  • increased hair growth, especially on the face
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • pimples
  • stuffy or runny nose
Less common
  • Brittle fingernails
  • burning feeling in the chest or stomach
  • burning, dry, or itching eyes
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • cramps
  • discharge or excessive tearing
  • feeling of warmth
  • hearing loss
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • redness, pain, swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
  • swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males
  • weight loss
Rare
  • Blurred or loss of vision
  • discouragement
  • disturbed color perception
  • double vision
  • fear
  • feeling sad or empty
  • halos around lights
  • irritability
  • joint pain
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • night blindness
  • overbright appearance of lights
  • tiredness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • tunnel vision
  • unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
  • weakness
  • weight loss

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cyclosporine: compounding powder, injectable solution, oral capsule, oral liquid, oral solution

Renal

BK virus associated nephropathy has been associated with serious outcomes, including deteriorating renal function and renal graft loss.

Elevations in serum creatinine and BUN are common during cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) therapy and do not necessarily indicate allograft rejection.

In addition, cyclosporine-induced hyperuricemia may predispose the patient to renal calculi.

Renal insufficiency is dose-related. It is often accompanied by hypertension. Cyclosporine causes a reversible reduction in renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate. The mechanism of cyclosporine-induced nephrotoxicity is now considered to be vasoconstriction of the afferent arterioles. ET1 is also considered to be a key substance of cyclosporine-induced nephrotoxicity. Mild nephrotoxicity generally responds to reductions in cyclosporine doses. A chronic, progressive nephrotoxicity may also occur in which discontinuation of cyclosporine fails to alleviate the renal insufficiency. Renal biopsies from these patients may demonstrate interstitial fibrosis, tubular atrophy, global or segmental glomerulosclerosis, or smooth vascular muscle damage. It has been suggested that higher cumulative doses or high cyclosporine trough levels may be associated with the development of interstitial fibrosis.

Renal function should be closely monitored. Differentiation between cyclosporine-induced nephrotoxicity, allograft rejection, and other causes of impaired renal function should be made before considering cyclosporine dosage adjustments.

The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents in combination with cyclosporine may increase the risk of renal toxicity, especially in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Intact renal prostaglandins are necessary for maintaining adequate renal blood flow in patients treated with cyclosporine. Renal deterioration may occur independent of changes in cyclosporine levels.[Ref]

Renal side effects including renal insufficiency (up to 38%) and BK virus associated nephropathy have been reported. A chronic, progressive, irreversible nephrotoxicity has also been reported. Elevations in serum creatinine and BUN are common during cyclosporine therapy and do not necessarily indicate allograft rejection. A case of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) associated with cyclosporine therapy has been reported. A fatal case of acute tubular necrosis has been reported. In addition, cyclosporine-induced hyperuricemia may predispose the patient to renal calculi.[Ref]

Nervous system

Seizures in patients on cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) therapy may be associated with hypomagnesemia or concomitant high-dose corticosteroids. In addition, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension may contribute to cyclosporine neurotoxicity. Hypomagnesemia and hypercholesterolemia allow easier diffusion of cyclosporine across the blood-brain barrier potentiating neurotoxicity.

A review of cyclosporine-induced neurotoxicity revealed a 10% incidence after liver transplantation. Intravenous administration of cyclosporine was associated with more severe reactions such as psychosis, however severe reactions occurred rarely. MRI abnormalities were seldom found. Only 61% of patients that experienced neurotoxicity (n=46) had cyclosporine trough levels suggestive of toxicity. Temporary discontinuation and lowering the dose of cyclosporine resolved the neurotoxicity. Three patients were successfully switched to tacrolimus therapy without return of neurotoxicity. No patient exhibited abnormal magnesium levels.

The speech disorder leading to mutism which has been associated with cyclosporine therapy was reversible. Symptoms resolved within 1 to 2 weeks after withdrawal of the cyclosporine.

The permanent blindness which was reported in one patient was suspected to be due to neurotoxicity associated with elevated cyclosporine levels. Dechallenge with cyclosporine did not reverse the blindness . The blindness occurred over a 36 hour period 3 weeks following a kidney-pancreas transplant. The cyclosporine trough level was at its highest on the day of complete blindness (495 ng/mL). The mechanism by which cyclosporine induces neurologic blindness is unknown.[Ref]

Nervous system side effects of cyclosporine have included tremors (12% to 55%) and headache (2% to 15%). Depression, somnolence, decreased visual acuity, confusion, paresthesias, seizures, and a reversible speech disorder leading to mutism have also been associated with cyclosporine therapy. Three cases of leukoencephalopathy have also been reported. Postmarketing reports of migraine headache have been reported.[Ref]

Dermatologic

Dermatologic side effects of cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) have included hypertrichosis (30%), acne (1% to 8%), and pruritus. Cyclosporine has been associated with pilosebaceous lesions, including hypertrichosis, epidermal cysts, keratosis pilaris, acne, folliculitis, sebaceous gland hyperplasia, and cutaneous malignancies. A case of erythroderma resembling Sezary syndrome with lymphocytic infiltrates of the skin has been reported. Cases of folliculodystrophy and pseudoporphyria have also been reported.

Postmarketing cases of transformation to erythrodermic psoriasis or generalized pustular psoriasis upon either withdrawal or reduction of cyclosporine in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis have been reported.[Ref]

Hepatic

Hepatic side effects have been common, occurring in up to 50% of patients, and are generally mild and self-limited, and manifest as elevated bilirubin, serum transaminases, and alkaline phosphatase values. In addition, cholestatic jaundice has been reported. Postmarketing reports of cholestasis, jaundice, hepatitis and liver failure with serious and/or fatal outcomes have been reported.[Ref]

Hematologic

Hematologic side effects have included leukopenia (less than 1% to 6%), anemia, and thrombocytopenia.[Ref]

A syndrome characterized by thrombocytopenia and microangiopathic anemia is reported in some patients and may result in allograft rejection.[Ref]

Metabolic

Metabolic side effects of cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) have included significant hyperkalemia, which is sometimes associated with hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects have included gum hyperplasia (4% to 16%), diarrhea (3% to 8%), nausea and vomiting (2% to 10%), anorexia, abdominal discomfort, and rare reports of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Pancreatitis has also been reported rarely.[Ref]

The incidence of gum hyperplasia is lower with the microemulsion form of cyclosporine. A 14 day course of metronidazole 750 mg three times a day has been effective in remitting gum hyperplasia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. No increase in serum cyclosporine levels and creatinine levels were observed during metronidazole therapy. The effect of metronidazole on gum hyperplasia may be due to its antibacterial activity, although data is lacking.[Ref]

Cardiovascular

One study has reported that reduced basal and stimulated nitrous oxide production in cyclosporine-treated renal transplant recipients. The authors stated that this suggests endothelial dysfunction, and may explain the increased risk of premature atherosclerosis and cardiovascular death. They felt this might also provide, at least in part, a potential mechanism to explain cyclosporine-induced hypertension.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects have included hypertension (50%) induced by cyclosporine. Myocardial infarction has also been reported rarely.[Ref]

Endocrine

Endocrine side effects of cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) have included hypertriglyceridemia, increases in serum prolactin, decreases in serum testosterone, gynecomastia, hyperglycemia, and hypertrichosis. Cremophor EL (polyoxyethylated castor oil), the vehicle for the intravenous form of cyclosporine, may cause hyperlipidemia and electrophoretic abnormalities of lipoproteins. These effects are reversible upon cessation of therapy, but usually do not necessitate drug withdrawal.[Ref]

Other

Other side effects including a significant risk of acute rejection and death and/or graft loss have been reported in one study of 108 living related renal transplant recipients when cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) was withdrawn after an average of twelve and a half months after transplantation because of economic constraints. One case of trichomegaly has been reported. A case of calcineurin inhibitor induced pain syndrome (CIPS) has also been reported.[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Anaphylaxis, manifest as acute dyspnea, tachypnea, pruritus, rash, and chest discomfort has been reported in rare cases after intravenous administration of cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) The vehicle, Cremophor EL, is suspected of inducing anaphylaxis as some patients who experienced anaphylaxis following IV administration were subsequently safely treated with oral dosage forms. Intravenous cyclosporine should be reserved for those patients who are unable to tolerate oral medications. If this route is necessary, continuous observation for at least the first 30 minutes of the infusion is recommended.[Ref]

Hypersensitivity side effects to cyclosporine have occurred in less than 2% of patients.[Ref]

Ocular

A rare manifestation of neurotoxicity induced by cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) (which has occurred in transplant patients more frequently than in other indications) is optic disc edema including papilledema, with possible visual impairment, secondary to benign intracranial hypertension.[Ref]

Ocular side effects have included reports of pseudotumor cerebri, which resolved rapidly upon discontinuation of cyclosporine, and optic disk edema. Permanent blindness has been reported in one patient. A case of cyclosporine-induced retinal toxic blindness has also been reported.[Ref]

Oncologic

The development of neoplasms, particularly lymphomas and skin malignancies, is more likely in immunosuppressed patients.

Whether neoplasms are more likely due to underlying disease, the immunosuppressed state, or to cyclosporine (the active ingredient contained in Sandimmune) itself is somewhat speculative. In a large study, an increased incidence of lymphoma and Kaposi's sarcoma was found in patients treated with cyclosporine relative to those treated with a combination of azathioprine and prednisone. In some reported cases of B-cell lymphoma, the Epstein-Barr virus genome was found in the malignant cells, suggesting opportunistic infection during a cyclosporine-induced immunosuppressed state.[Ref]

Oncologic side effects including one fatal case of metastatic angiosarcoma during cyclosporine and prednisone immunosuppression (after kidney transplantation) have been reported.[Ref]

Immunologic

Immunologic side effects have included an increased patient susceptibility to opportunistic infections due to cyclosporine-induced immunosuppression. Postmarketing reports of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), sometimes fatal; and polyoma virus associated nephropathy (PVAN), especially BK virus resulting in graft loss have been reported.[Ref]

Accelerated hepatitis B and C infections, sometimes resulting in hepatic necrosis, Pneumocystis pneumoniae infections, as well as other viral, fungal, and bacterial infections have been reported in patients treated with cyclosporine. An in vitro study demonstrated enhanced intracellular cytomegalovirus production and virus spread, indicating an increased risk of CMV infection in cyclosporine-treated patients.[Ref]

Local

Local side effects including a case of recurrent infusion phlebitis have been reported.[Ref]

Respiratory

The death was part caused by an anaphylactic reaction which may have actually been a reaction to the Cremophor EL (polyoxyethylated castor oil) used as the vehicle for the intravenous formulation.[Ref]

Respiratory side effects have included respiratory arrest and aspiration pneumonia in one patient that lead to the death of that patient.[Ref]

References

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2. Ludwin D, Bennett KJ, Grace EM, et al "Nephrotoxicity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with cyclosporine." Transplant Proc 20 (1988): 367-70

3. Burack DA, Griffith BP, Thompson ME, Kahl LE "Hyperuricemia and gout among heart transplant recipients receiving cyclosporine." Am J Med 92 (1992): 141-6

4. Ballardie FW, Edwards BD, Hows J, et al "Disturbance in renal haemodynamics and physiology in bone marrow transplant recipients treated with ciclosporin A." Nephron 60 (1992): 17-24

5. Ellis CN, Fradin MS, Messana JM, et al "Cyclosporine for plaque-type psoriasis: results of a multidose, double-blind trial." N Engl J Med 324 (1991): 277-84

6. Lichtiger S, Present DH, Kornbluth A, Gelernt I, Bauer J, Galler G, Michelassi F, Hanauer S "Cyclosporine in severe ulcerative colitis refractory to steroid therapy." N Engl J Med 330 (1994): 1841-5

7. Grossman RM, Chevret S, Abirached J, Blanchet F, Dubertret L "Long-term safety of cyclosporine in the treatment of psoriasis." Arch Dermatol 132 (1996): 623-9

8. Ishikawa A, Suzuki K, Fujita K "Mechanisms of cyclosporine-induced nephrotoxicity." Transplant Proc 31 (1999): 1127-8

9. Butkus DE, Herrera GA, Raju SS "Successful renal transplantation after cyclosporine-associated hemolytic-uremic syndrome following bilateral lung transplantation." Transplantation 54 (1992): 159-62

10. Landewe RBM, The HSG, Vanrijthoven AWAM, Rietveld JR, Breedveld FC, Dijkmans BAC "Cyclosporine in common clinical practice: an estimation of the benefit/risk ratio in patients with rheumatoid arthritis." J Rheumatol 21 (1994): 1631-6

11. Morales JM, Andres A, Hernandez E, et al "Fractional excretion of sodium is an early predictor of cyclosporine nephrotoxicity after renal transplantation." Transplant Proc 22 (1990): 1728-9

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14. Boers M, van Rijthoven AW, The HS, et al "Serum creatinine levels two years later: follow-up of a placebo-controlled trial of cyclosporine in rheumatoid patients." Transplant Proc 20 (1988): 371-5

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24. Zachariae H, Hansen HE, Kragballe K, Olsen S "Morphologic renal changes during cyclosporine treatment of psoriasis." J Am Acad Dermatol 26 (1992): 415-9

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27. Forre O, Bjerkhoel F, Kjeldsenkragh J, Ostensen H, Astor T, Boe E, Lekven C, Sorensen JU, Karoliussen O, Dehli O, Glennas A, Kv "Radiologic evidence of disease modification in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with cyclosporine - results of a 48-week multicenter study comparing low-dose cyclosporine with placebo." Arthritis Rheum 37 (1994): 1506-12

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33. Valldeoriola F, Graus F, Rimola A, Andreu H, Santamaria J, Catafau A, Visa J, Tolosa E, Rodes J "Cyclosporine-associated mutism in liver transplant patients." Neurology 46 (1996): 252-4

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37. Munoz R, Espinoza M, Espinoza O, Andrade A, Bravo E, Gonzalez F "Cyclosporine-associated leukoencephalopathy in organ transplant recipients: experience of three clinical cases." Transplant Proc 38 (2006): 921-3

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39. Vilardell J, Oppenheimer F, Castelao AM, et al "Cancer after transplantation in catalonia." Transplant Proc 24 (1992): 124

40. Pakula A, Garden J "Sebaceous hyperplasia and basal cell carcinoma in a renal transplant patient receiving cyclosporine." J Am Acad Dermatol 26 (1992): 139-40

41. Heaphy MR Jr, Shamma HN, Hickmann M, White MJ "Cyclosporine-induced folliculodystrophy." J Am Acad Dermatol 50 (2004): 310-5

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43. Regev E, Zeltser R, Lustmann J "Lip carcinoma in renal allograft recipient with long-term immunosuppressive therapy." Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 73 (1992): 412-4

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46. Saglam F, Onan U, Soydinc M, Yilmaz O, Kirac K, Sever MS "Human papillomavirus in a patient with severe gingival overgrowth associated with cyclosporine therapy. a case report." J Periodontol 67 (1996): 528-31

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49. Ciancio SG, Bartz NW Jr, Lauciello FR "Cyclosporine-induced gingival hyperplasia and chlorhexidine: a case report." Int J Periodontics Restorative Dent 11 (1991): 241-5

50. Cecchin E, Zanello F, de Marchi S "Treatment of cyclosporine-induced gingival hypertrophy." Ann Intern Med 126 (1997): 409-10

51. Morris STW, McMurray JJV, Rodger RSC, Farmer R, Jardine AG "Endothelial dysfunction in renal transplant recipients maintained on cyclosporine." Kidney Int 57 (2000): 1100-6

52. Feutren G, Querin S, Noel LH, et al "Effects fo cyclosporine in severe systemic lupus erythematosus." J Pediatr 111 (1987): 1063-8

53. Textor SC, Canzanello VJ, Taler SJ, Wilson DJ, Schwartz LL, Augustine JE, Raymer JM, Romero JC, Wiesner RH, Krom RAF, B "Cyclosporine-induced hypertension after transplantation." Mayo Clin Proc 69 (1994): 1182-93

54. Grossman RM, Delaney RJ, Brinton EA, et al "Hypertriglyceridemia in patients with psoriasis treated with cyclosporine." J Am Acad Dermatol 25 (1991): 648-51

55. Weaver DT, Bartley GB "Cyclosporine-induced trichomegaly." Am J Ophthalmol 109 (1990): 239

56. Jha V, Muthukumar T, Kohli HS, Sud K, Gupta KL, Sakhuja V "Impact of cyclosporine withdrawal on living related renal transplants: A single-center experience." Am J Kidney Dis 37 (2001): 119-24

57. Lavoratore SR, Navarro OM, Grunebaum E, et al. "Cyclosporine-induced pain syndrome in a child undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplant." Ann Pharmacother 43 (2009): 767-71

58. Riegert-Johnson DL, Kumar S, Volcheck GW "A patient with anaphylactoid hypersensitivity to intravenous cyclosporine and subcutaneous phytonadione (vitamin K(1))." Bone Marrow Transplant 28 (2001): 1176-7

59. Howrie DL, Ptachcinski RJ, Griffith BP, et al "Anaphylactoid reactions associated with parenteral cyclosporine use: possible role of Cremophor EL." Drug Intell Clin Pharm 19 (1985): 425-7

60. Cruz OA, Fogg SG, Roperhall G "Pseudotumor cerebri associated with cyclosporine use." Am J Ophthalmol 122 (1996): 436-7

61. Lopez-Jimenez J, Sanchez A, Fernandez CS, Gutierrez C, Herrera P, Odriozola J "Cyclosporine-induced retinal toxic blindness." Bone Marrow Transplant 20 (1997): 243-5

62. Zijlmans JM, van Rijthoven AW, Kluin PM, Jiwa NM, Dijkmans BA, Kluin-Nelemans JC "Epstein-Barr virus-associated lymphoma in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis treated with cyclosporine." N Engl J Med 326 (1992): 1363

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64. Delbello MW, Dick WH, Carter CB, Butler FO "Polyclonal B cell lymphoma of renal transplant ureter induced by cyclosporine: case report." J Urol 146 (1991): 1613-4

65. Brown LA, Wiselka M, Campbell A, et al "High-grade T-cell lymphoma following treatment with cyclosporin A." Histopathology 19 (1991): 225-9

66. Marcen R, Pascual J, Serrano P, et al "Renal cell carcinoma of the native kidney in a female renal allograft patient without acquired cystic kidney disease." Nephron 61 (1992): 238-9

67. Smith MB, Hanauer SB "Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia during cyclosporine therapy for ulcerative colitis." N Engl J Med 327 (1992): 497-8

68. Shiraki K, Ishibashi M, Okuno T, et al "Effects of cyclosporine, azathioprine, mizoribine, and prednisolone on replication of human cytomegalovirus." Transplant Proc 22 (1990): 1682-5

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