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Sandimmune Warnings and Precautions

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Sandimmune

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this medication include the following:
 
  • You must take Sandimmune under the direction of a healthcare provider who has experience prescribing drugs that suppress the immune system and treating people who have undergone an organ transplant.
     
  • This medication increases your risk for developing cancer, especially skin cancer and lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). Try to limit your time in the sun during treatment and wear sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 30 with protective clothing, such as hats and long-sleeved shirts, while outside. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any skin changes or develop lumps in your neck, underarms, or groin area, as these could be signs of a serious problem.
     
  • Sandimmune may increase your risk for developing an infection, including potentially serious bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. You could become infected with the BK virus, a virus that can damage your kidneys and, if you have received a kidney transplant, cause your new kidney to fail. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you think you have an infection, or experience symptoms of an infection, such as fever, body aches, or chills.
     
  • Taking Sandimmune with another medicine that suppresses the immune system will further increase your risk for developing infections and cancer. Sandimmune is usually taken in combination with a corticosteroid, such as prednisone, but should generally not be taken with other immunosuppressants.
     
  • Sandimmune contains cyclosporine, a medicine that is also available in a form that has been slightly changed, or "modified," to be more easily absorbed into the body. This modified cyclosporine is not equivalent to Sandimmune. If you need to switch from one type or brand of cyclosporine to another, only do so under your healthcare provider's supervision. He or she may need to adjust your dosage.
     
  • Your healthcare provider will routinely check your Sandimmune blood levels during treatment. You will need additional tests to monitor for potentially serious side effects. Make sure to keep all your healthcare provider and lab appointments.
     
  • This medicine can damage your kidneys and liver, especially when used in high doses or for long periods. Your healthcare provider will monitor you for these side effects. If your kidney and liver tests begin to show signs of damage, your healthcare provider may need to reduce your Sandimmune dosage.
     
  • This medication may cause high blood pressure and high levels of potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia). It can also increase the amount of uric acid in your blood, which could cause gout (a type of arthritis that affects the joints, especially of the toe) or kidney stones.
     
  • There have reports of seizures in people taking Sandimmune, especially when used in combination with high doses of methylprednisolone (A-Methapred®, Depo-Medrol®, Medrol®, Solu-Medrol®). There have also been reports of encephalopathy, a medical term for a disease of the brain that causes altered brain function. Seek immediate medical care if you experience signs of encephalopathy, such as:
     
    • Confusion
    • Vision changes
    • Muscle weakness
    • Problems with movement
    • Seizures.
 
  • Some people may experience an anaphylactic reaction (a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction) with Sandimmune injections. If you receive the injectable form of this medicine, you will be observed for at least 30 minutes after receiving your dose and frequently thereafter. Anaphylaxis has not been reported with the capsules or oral liquid forms.
     
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before getting any type of vaccination or immunization during treatment. Sandimmune may make vaccines less effective. Also, people taking Sandimmune should not receive "live" vaccinations (see Sandimmune Drug Interactions).
     
  • Sandimmune can react with a number of other medications (see Sandimmune Drug Interactions).
     
  • This product is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means it may not be safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using Sandimmune when pregnant (see Sandimmune and Pregnancy).
     
  • Sandimmune is known to pass through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Sandimmune and Breastfeeding).
     

Sandimmune Medication Information

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