Sirolimus (often known by its brand name, Rapamune) is an immunosuppressive drug, which is used for organ transplant patients. The drug is taken in small doses and is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and metabolised by the liver; it has a half-life of 60 hours and is then emitted from the body.

Sirolimus is a relatively new drug, which is predominantly used for patients who have a kidney transplant; it has been found not to be as noxious to the kidneys compared to other types of immunosuppressive drug.

When is the test used?

The test is used to monitor the levels of Sirolimus in the blood; the results of the test can be used to check that levels are within the target range as well as being helpful for finding the correct dose for a patient.

Usually tests are carried out at the beginning of the treatment and then periodically to check that the dosage is correct. If the dose is changed, the test will usually be repeated around a week or two afterwards.

How is the test carried out?

The test is done by taking a sample of blood from the patient’s arm; usually a vein on the inside of the elbow is used because the veins tend to be more prominent here. The needle is inserted into the vein and the blood collected in the syringe. The sample is then bottled, labelled and sent off to the laboratory for analysis.

What do the test results mean?

If the level is greater than the target range, this may cause symptoms linked with toxicity; if this is the case, the dosage will probably be decreased.

If the concentration is lower than the recommended range, this may affect the efficacy of the drug and the organ may be rejected.

Specific Blood Tests

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