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Tacrolimus and Nephrotic Syndrome

If you have nephrotic syndrome, your healthcare provider may prescribe tacrolimus. Nephrotic syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur when the kidneys become damaged. Some signs of this condition may include high levels of protein in the urine, foamy urine, and swelling. Research has shown that tacrolimus can help relieve these and other symptoms of nephrotic syndrome in adults and children.

What Is Nephrotic Syndrome?

Nephrotic syndrome is a medical term used to describe a group of symptoms that can occur in some people with kidney disease. It occurs when the tiny structures in the kidney that filter out waste products (called the glomeruli) become damaged and allow large amounts of protein to leak from the blood to the urine. Symptoms of nephrotic syndrome include:
 
  • Abnormally high levels of protein in the urine
  • Low levels of protein in the blood
  • Swelling, especially of the face, hands, feet, and ankles (known as edema)
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Foamy urine (caused by the excess protein).
 
Nephrotic syndrome is not a disease itself. The symptoms that make up nephrotic syndrome can result from many different conditions that damage the kidneys, such as:
 
  • Minimal-change disease (the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in children)
  • Membranous nephropathy (a disorder characterized by thickening of the structures of the kidneys)
  • Diabetes
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Hepatitis B and C infections
  • Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
 
In some cases, the underlying cause is never found.
 

Treatment Options

The usual treatment for nephrotic syndrome is to treat the underlying cause, if known. Treatment will also focus on controlling symptoms. For example, blood pressure medicines known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may be used to control blood pressure and reduce the amount of protein lost in the urine. Medications such as statins can be used to reduce cholesterol levels. Corticosteroids and other drugs that suppress the immune system may be used to reduce inflammation of the kidneys.
 

Tacrolimus Drug Information

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