Skip to Content

Cyclosporine for Psoriasis

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
cyclosporine Neoral, Sandimmune

Cyclosporine is available as a shot or as a liquid or pill that you take by mouth. The dosage of cyclosporine depends on your body weight.

How It Works

Cyclosporine suppresses the immune system and may slow the rapid growth of skin cells.

Why It Is Used

Cyclosporine is very rarely used. It is used to treat severe plaque psoriasis that has not improved with the use of methotrexate.

Cyclosporine should not be used by pregnant women or women of childbearing age.

How Well It Works

Cyclosporine is effective in clearing psoriasis and may help prevent relapse (flare-ups).1

Side Effects

Side effects of cyclosporine include:

  • Suppression of the immune system.
  • Kidney problems.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Nonmelanoma skin cancer, especially for people who also had psoralen and UVA (PUVA) therapy.

While you are taking cyclosporine, get your blood pressure and kidney function checked regularly.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about drinking grapefruit juice while you are taking cyclosporine. Grapefruit juice can increase the level of this medicine in your blood. Having too much medicine in your blood increases your chances of having serious side effects.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Cyclosporine can suppress the body's immune system, which makes fighting infections more difficult. Cyclosporine should be prescribed only by a doctor experienced in managing psoriasis.

The safety of long-term treatment with cyclosporine is not known.

Cyclosporine is not usually used to treat severe psoriasis in people who have a weakened immune system, such as people with HIV or cancer.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Naldi L, Rzany B (2009). Psoriasis (chronic plaque), search date August 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Last Revised January 9, 2012

Last Revised: January 9, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Connect With CentraCare