What are the possible risks and side-effects of ciclosporin?
Possible side-effects of ciclosporin include a rise in blood pressure and effects on your kidneys. Ciclosporin can sometimes cause increased levels of lipids (e.g. cholesterol) in the blood.
You'll have regular blood tests and your blood pressure will also need to be checked frequently while you're on ciclosporin. You may be asked to keep a record of your blood test results in a booklet, and you should take it with you when you visit your GP or the hospital. You must not take ciclosporin unless you're having regular checks.
There are different brands of ciclosporin available and, although the drug itself is the same in all the brands, it may be absorbed differently. Your doctor will try to keep you on the same brand if possible. If it's necessary to change to another brand your doctor may advise more frequent checks to make sure the levels of drug in your blood remain the same.
To improve side-effects you may be advised to reduce the dose of ciclosporin.
You should tell your doctor or rheumatology nurse specialist if you develop any of the following after starting ciclosporin:
- nausea (feeling sick)
- gum overgrowth
- excess hair growth
- any other new symptoms or anything else that concerns you.
You should stop ciclosporin and see your doctor immediately if any of these symptoms are severe.
You should also see your doctor if you develop chickenpox or shingles or come into contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles. These infections can be severe in people on treatments that affect the immune system such as ciclosporin. You may need antiviral treatment, and your ciclosporin is usually stopped until you're better.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can increase the amount of ciclosporin available in your body and so increase the risk of side-effects.