Other names: Cyclosporin

Ciclosporin is a drug which is used to help suppress the body’s immune system; it is used for patients who have had an organ transplant to prevent the body rejecting the donor organ. The drug prevents the body attacking the organ by suppressing the activity of certain types of white blood cells. Ciclosporin is commonly used for patients who have had liver, kidney and heart transplant surgery.

When is the test used?

The test is primarily used to monitor the concentration of ciclosporin in the blood for patients who have had transplant surgery; the test helps doctors to find the right dosage. It is important to measure the dosage carefully as the rates of absorption and metabolism of the drug vary greatly between different patients so there is not a standard dose for everyone. Doing regular tests helps to ensure that doctors are giving their patients the correct dose and prevents them from falling into the toxic range, which can contribute to serious problems.

The test is usually ordered on a regular basis (every 1-2 days) once a patient has started a course of ciclosporin therapy; once an optimum dose has been found, the tests will probably be repeated every 1-2 months.

How is the test done?

The test is performed by taking a sample of blood from a vein in the arm; a needle will be inserted into the vein and the blood will be drawn out and collected in a syringe. Once the sample has been collected it will be bottled, labelled with the patient’s name and sent away to the laboratory.

What do the test results mean?

Doctors interpret the test results based on guidelines issued by the laboratory; the target range for the drug depends on the nature of the individual case and which kind of surgery they have had.

If levels of ciclosporin are below the target range, this may mean that there is an increased risk of the body rejecting the donor organ.

If levels of ciclosporin are too high, this may cause symptoms associated with toxicity; these include high blood pressure, bleeding and swelling of the gums, tremors and damage to the kidneys.

Specific Blood Tests

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