Consumer medicine information

Sandimmun

Ciclosporin

BRAND INFORMATION

Brand name

Sandimmun

Active ingredient

Ciclosporin

Schedule

S4

 

Consumer medicine information (CMI) leaflet

Please read this leaflet carefully before you start using Sandimmun.

What is in this leaflet

This leaflet answers some common questions about Sandimmun.

It does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

The information in this leaflet was last updated on the date listed on the final page. More recent information on the medicine may be available.

You should ensure that you speak to your pharmacist or doctor to obtain the most up to date information on the medicine. You can also download the most up to date leaflet from www.novartis.com.au. Those updates may contain important information about the medicine and its use of which you should be aware.

All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking Sandimmun against the benefits they expect it will have for you.

If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Keep this leaflet with the medicine. You may need to read it again.

What Sandimmun is used for

Sandimmun is used for people who have had a kidney, heart or liver transplant, to prevent the body from rejecting the new organ. It does this by blocking the development of special cells which would normally attack the transplanted tissue.

Sandimmun is also used to treat several other conditions which are thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system:

  • a kidney disease, called nephrotic syndrome
  • severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis (a disease, affecting the joints with pain and swelling)
  • severe cases of :
    - psoriasis (a skin disease with thickened patches of red skin, often with silvery scales)
    - atopic dermatitis (skin allergies)

Sandimmun contains the active ingredient, cyclosporin. It belongs to a group of medicines called immuno-suppressive agents. These medicines help to control your body's immune system.

Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed for you. Your doctor may have prescribed it for another reason.

Sandimmun is only available with a doctor's prescription. It is not addictive.

Before you are given Sandimmun

When you must not have it

You must not have Sandimmun if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any of the following:

  • cyclosporin, the active ingredient in Sandimmun
  • Cremophor® EL, a castor oil derivative in Sandimmun concentrate (which may cause severe allergic reactions)
  • alcohol
  • any of the other ingredients of Sandimmun listed at the end of this leaflet

If you think you may be allergic to Sandimmun, ask your doctor for advice. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include hives or an itchy skin rash, swelling of the face, lips or tongue, faintness, wheezing or troubled breathing.

Do not have Sandimmun after the expiry date printed on the pack or if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering. In that case, return it to your pharmacist.

Do not give Sandimmun to a child under 16 years of age to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis or atopic dermatitis. There is not enough information to recommend its use for these diseases in children under 16 years of age. However, Sandimmun can be used in children younger than 16 who have had an organ transplant or who have nephrotic syndrome.

Before you are given it

If you have been prescribed Sandimmun for nephrotic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis or atopic dermatitis, tell your doctor if you also have any of these health problems/medical conditions:

  • high blood pressure that is not controlled
  • any uncontrolled infection
  • a poorly functioning immune system
  • problems with your kidneys or liver
  • severe heart, lung or blood vessel disease
  • any type of cancer, including skin cancer

Your doctor may not want you to have Sandimmun or may want to take special precautions if you have any of these conditions.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Experience with Sandimmun in pregnancy is very limited. The use of immunosuppressant medicines, including cyclosporin, during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of problems in the mother and the unborn child. If it is necessary for you to take this medicine, your doctor will discuss with you the benefits and risks of taking it during pregnancy.

Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. Breast-feeding is not recommended since cyclosporin, the active ingredient in Sandimmun, passes into breast milk and may affect your baby.

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you buy without a prescription from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

Many other medicines may be affected by Sandimmun or they may affect how well Sandimmun works. This includes:

  • St John's wort, an ingredient in many medicines that you can buy without a prescription from a pharmacy, health food shop or supermarket
  • methotrexate, a medicine to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis, some types of cancers, and psoriasis
  • antibacterial amino glycoside-type agents (e.g. gentamicin, tobramycin)
  • antifungal agents containing amphotericin B
  • antibacterial agents containing ciprofloxacin
  • cytostatics containing melphalan
  • agents used to treat urinary tract infection containing trimethoprim
  • medicines used to treat pain (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, e.g. diclofenac )
  • acid secretion inhibitors of the H2-receptor antagonist type (e.g. cimetidine, ranitidine), which are used to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach
  • other drugs which may affect the kidneys
  • antibacterial agents of the macrolide type (e.g. clarithromycin, azithromycin, erythromycin)
  • antifungal agents of the azole type (e.g. fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole) or terbinafine
  • oral contraceptives (Levonorgestrel and Norethisterone)
  • protease inhibitors, used to treat or prevent infections caused by viruses
  • imatinib, a medicine used to treat some cancers
  • anthracycline anticancer medicines, such as doxorubicin
  • certain blood pressure reducing agents of the calcium antagonist type (e.g. nifedipine, amlodipine, verapamil, diltiazem, amiodarone) or of the endothelin receptor antagonist type (e.g. bosentan, ambrisentan)
  • certain anticonvulsives, used to prevent fits or seizures (e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin)
  • digoxin, a medicine used to treat heart failure
  • colchicine, used to treat gout disease with painful, swollen joints
  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) or fibric acid derivatives, which are used to treat high cholesterol
  • prednisolone, a corticosteroid used to treat inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, asthma, colitis
  • etoposide, used to treat cancer
  • repaglinide, used to treat Type II diabetes
  • aliskiren, used to treat high blood pressure
  • potassium sparing drugs or potassium containing drugs
  • triclopidine (a medicine that is used after a stroke)
  • octreotide, a medicine used to treat excess growth hormone, relieve the symptoms of certain types of cancer, or having surgery on the pancreas
  • orlistat, used to help with weight loss
  • danazol, a medicine used to treat menstrual disorders
  • allopurinol, a medicine used to treat gout (a disease with painful, swollen joints caused by uric acid crystals)
  • metoclopramide, a medicine used to prevent nausea and vomiting
  • cholic acid and derivatives, which are used to treat gallstones
  • tacrolimus, everolimus, or sirolimus, which are medicines that lower your immunity
  • dabigatran, an anticoagulant medicine used to prevent stroke

You may need to take different amounts of your medicines or you may need to take different medicines.

Your doctor and pharmacist have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while having Sandimmun.

If you have not told your doctor about any of these things, tell him/her before you have Sandimmun.

Administering Sandimmun

You will be given Sandimmun by a slow infusion. Sandimmun will be diluted with normal saline or 5% glucose before use.

Your doctor will adjust your dose to one that is ideal for you. To do this you will need to have regular blood tests and visits to the hospital, particularly after transplantation. This will give you the chance to talk to your doctor about your treatment and mention any problems that you may have.

Sandimmun is different from Neoral®

There is another medicine called Neoral which also contains cyclosporin.

However, there are important differences between these two medicines.

Because of these differences, you must not change from Sandimmun to Neoral or from Neoral to Sandimmun unless it is under the strict supervision of your doctor.

Do not have Sandimmun and take Neoral at the same time.

How much to have

The dose of Sandimmun is worked out for each person. It will depend on how much you weigh, what condition is being treated, how well Sandimmun works for you, and whether you have any side effects from this medicine.

Your dose may be changed from time to time. Your doctor will work out the correct dose of Sandimmun for you.

How it will be given

Concentrate for intravenous infusion:
Sandimmun can be given by intravenous infusion (drip) for a short time after transplant surgery or in other cases where the medicine cannot be taken by mouth. The dose is given in hospital, usually over 2-6 hours.

How long treatment will last

This medicine will be given for as long as your doctor recommends. The length of treatment will depend on what medical condition you have.

For transplant patients:
You will need to take one or more immunosuppressant medicines for as long as you have the transplanted organ.

For nephrotic syndrome:
You may be given Sandimmun for 3 months to start with. If it helps your condition, your doctor may decide to continue Sandimmun treatment for as long as it helps you and does not cause serious side effects.

For severe rheumatoid arthritis:
You will usually be given Sandimmun for 3 months to start with. It may take this long to know whether Sandimmun will help your condition. If Sandimmun is effective, your doctor may then lower the dose and you will continue treatment at the lowest dose that is suitable for you.

For severe psoriasis:
You will usually be given Sandimmun for up to 6 weeks to start with. If your condition improves, your doctor may want you to continue treatment at the lowest effective dose. You can only expect to benefit from this medicine while you continue to be given it.

For severe atopic dermatitis:
You will usually be given Sandimmun for up to 8 weeks to start with. Once your condition has improved, the dose may be slowly reduced, and in some cases, may even be stopped. Once treatment has stopped, your condition is likely to return, although this may take several weeks or months. Your doctor may then want you to start having Sandimmun again.

If you think that you have been given too much (Overdose)

Immediately tell your doctor or telephone the Poisons Information Centre (telephone number 13 11 26), or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much Sandimmun. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.

Keep the telephone numbers for these places handy.

While you are being given Sandimmun

Things you must do

Sandimmun must be given exactly as your doctor has prescribed. You must be given this medicine exactly as prescribed so that it will work properly and to prevent unwanted side effects.

Make sure that you keep all of your doctor's appointments and have any tests done that are ordered by your doctor. Your doctor may ask you to have tests from time to time to check how well your kidneys and liver are working. It may be necessary to measure the amount of cyclosporin, as well as the levels of other chemicals (eg. potassium) in your blood. Your blood pressure will also be checked regularly.

Avoid eating large amounts of foods that are high in potassium. In some people having Sandimmun, the amount of potassium in the blood can increase (called hyperkalaemia). The amount of potassium in the blood can also be increased by eating certain foods. Your doctor can tell you which foods to avoid.

If you become pregnant while having Sandimmun, tell your doctor. Your doctor can discuss with you the risks of taking it while you are pregnant.

If you develop lumps anywhere on/in your body, or develop any moles, or you notice changes in existing moles, tell your doctor. This may be an early sign of a cancer. Immunosuppressant medicines, including Sandimmun, may increase the risk of developing certain cancers, including skin cancer and lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system).

Limit your exposure to sunlight and UV light. If you go out in the sun, wear a hat, appropriate protective clothing and a sunscreen with a high protection factor. This will help to prevent the development of skin cancer.

If you have psoriasis or atopic dermatitis, you must be especially careful about developing skin cancer. Visit your skin specialist regularly for check-ups.

Take special care of your teeth and gums.

If you experience any symptoms of infection (e.g.fever, sore throat), inform your doctor immediately. People taking immunosuppressant medicines are at a greater risk of getting infections.

Taking good care of your teeth and gums will help to prevent dental and mouth infections.

If you are about to be started on any new medicine, remind your doctor and pharmacist that you are being given Sandimmun.

Tell any other doctor, dentist or pharmacist who treats you that you are being given Sandimmun.

Things you must not do

Do not have any vaccinations without first checking with your doctor. Some vaccines may be less effective or they may cause unwanted side effects while you are being given Sandimmun.

Things to be careful of

Be careful driving, operating machinery or doing jobs that require you to be alert while you are being given Sandimmun until you know how it affects you. This medicine can cause tiredness, lack of energy or confusion in some people. If you have any of these symptoms, do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous.

Sandimmun concentrate for infusion contains 34.4 % v/v alcohol (27.8 % w/v). A 100 mg dose of Sandimmun concentrate contains about half a gram of alcohol, equivalent to about 14 mL of beer or 6 mL of wine .

Alcohol may be harmful for those suffering from alcoholism, epilepsy, brain injury or liver disease as well as pregnant or breast-feeding women and children.

Like other medicines that dampen the immune system, cyclosporin may influence your body's ability to fight against infection and may cause tumours or other malignancies, particularly of the skin.

Side effects

Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are being given Sandimmun, even if you do not think it is connected with the medicine.

All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, but most of the time they are not. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects. Your doctor may be able to relieve some of the side effects of Sandimmun by lowering the dose.

If you are over 65 years old, you should be especially careful while being given this medicine. Report any side effects promptly to your doctor. As people grow older, they are more likely to get side effects from medicines.

Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.

Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

  • tiredness, lack of energy
  • burning feeling in hands and feet, usually during the first week of treatment
  • excessive growth of body and facial hair
  • overgrown, thickened, swollen or bleeding gums
  • stomach upset, including nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, stomach ulcer
  • tremor (shaking)
  • headache, including migraine
  • sensitivity to light
  • weight loss or gain
  • feeling depressed (sad)
  • flushing of face, acne, darkening of skin
  • painful menstrual periods or lack of periods
  • increase in size of breasts in males and females
  • muscle cramps, tenderness or weakness
  • blocked or stuffy nose
  • pain of lower extremities

The above side effects are not usually serious.

Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • fever (temperature above 37°C)
  • constant "flu-like" symptoms such as chills, sore throat, aching joints, swollen glands, or any other signs of infection
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • signs of allergy such as rash, itching or hives on the skin; swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other part of the body; shortness of breath, wheezing or troubled breathing
  • new lumps or moles, or changes to existing moles, anywhere on the body
  • swelling of the eyelids, hands or feet due to excess fluid
  • a change in the amount of urine passed or in the number of times you urinate, pain on urinating; dark, bloody or smelly urine
  • yellowing of the skin and/or eyes (jaundice) often accompanied by generally feeling unwell (for example, tiredness, lack of energy, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, pain in the abdomen)
  • severe pain or tenderness in the stomach or abdomen
  • vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds; black sticky bowel motions or bloody diarrhoea
  • unusual tiredness or weakness, which may be accompanied by dizziness, spots before the eyes, shortness of breath and pale skin
  • numbness or "pins and needles" in the hands and feet
  • a disturbance in brain function which may cause a variety of symptoms, including personality changes, confusion, disorientation, agitation, inability to sleep, decreased responsiveness, weakness and loss of coordination in arms and legs with or without abnormal speech or eye movements, seizures (fits), clumsiness, memory loss, difficulty speaking or understanding what others say, visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not there) or other problems with vision, coma, paralysis of part or all of the body, stiff neck
  • buzzing or ringing in the ears, difficulty hearing

The above are serious side effects that need medical attention.

Some side effects may not give you any symptoms and can only be found when tests are done. Some of these side effects include:

  • changes in kidney or liver function, or liver injury (with or without yellow eyes or skin)
  • raised blood pressure
  • increase in the amount of potassium or cholesterol in the blood
  • decrease in the amount of magnesium in the blood
  • increase in the amount of uric acid in the blood, which can lead to gout
  • increase in blood sugar
  • low white blood cell count
  • low levels of red blood cells
  • low levels of platelets in the blood

Your doctor will make sure that tests are done regularly to watch for these side effects.

Tell your doctor if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell.

If you notice any other side effects not mentioned in this leaflet, please inform your doctor or pharmacist.

Other side effects not listed here may happen in some people.

After using Sandimmun

Storage

Sandimmun is usually stored in the doctor's surgery or clinic, or at the pharmacy. However, if you need to store Sandimmun:

Keep the medicine where children cannot reach it. A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.

Keep Sandimmun in the original pack until it is time for it to be given.

Disposal

If you no longer need Sandimmun or it has passed its expiry date, return any unused medicine to your pharmacist.

Product description

What it looks like

Sandimmun concentrate for intravenous infusion is a clear, brown-yellow oily liquid in 1 mL or 5 mL glass ampoules; packs of 10.

Ingredients

Sandimmun concentrate for intravenous infusion contains:

  • 50 mg cyclosporin per mL of infusion solution.

It also contains:

  • Macrogolglycerol ricinoleate/polyoxyethylated castor oil (Cremophor® EL)
  • ethanol (alcohol)

Sponsor

Sandimmun is supplied in Australia by:

NOVARTIS Pharmaceuticals
Australia Pty Limited
ABN 18 004 244 160
54 Waterloo Road
Macquarie Park NSW 2113
Telephone: 1 800 671 203

®= Registered Trademark

Australian Registration Numbers:

Sandimmun 50mg/1mL ampoule AUST R 13370

Sandimmun 250mg/5mL ampoule AUST R 47290

This leaflet was prepared in
November 2020

(sim191120c.doc) based on PI (sim191120i.doc)

Published by MIMS January 2021

BRAND INFORMATION

Brand name

Sandimmun

Active ingredient

Ciclosporin

Schedule

S4

 

1 Name of Medicine

Ciclosporin.

2 Qualitative and Quantitative Composition

Sandimmun oral solution.

Sandimmun oral solution contains 100 mg/mL of ciclosporin.

Capsules.

Each Sandimmun 25 mg capsule contains 25 mg ciclosporin.
Each Sandimmun 50 mg capsule contains 50 mg ciclosporin.
Each Sandimmun 100 mg capsule contains 100 mg ciclosporin.

Concentrate for intravenous infusion.

Sandimmun concentrate for intravenous infusion contains 250 mg/5 mL or 50 mg/1 mL of ciclosporin.

Excipients with known effect.

Alcohol (as ethanol 34% v/v in the concentrates for intravenous infusion, ethanol 12.8% v/v in the capsules and ethanol 12.6% v/v in the oral solution.
For the full list of excipients, see Section 6.1 List of Excipients.

3 Pharmaceutical Form

Oral solution.

100 mg/mL: Yellow to brownish liquid; clear, or a small amount of very fine sediment.

Capsules.

25 mg: Pink oval soft gelatin capsule, approx. 11.3 mm (length) and 7.4 mm (diameter).
50 mg: Corn yellow, oblong, soft, gelatin capsule, approx 19.9 mm (length) and 7.5mm (diameter).
100 mg: Dusty rose oblong soft gelatin capsule, approx. 24.9 mm (length) and 8.7 mm (diameter).

Concentrate for intravenous infusion.

250 mg/5 mL: Clear brown-yellow, oily solution.
50 mg/1 mL: Clear brown-yellow, oily solution.

4 Clinical Particulars

4.1 Therapeutic Indications

Sandimmun is indicated:
As an immunosuppressive agent for the prevention of graft rejection following kidney, liver and heart allogeneic transplantation.
For induction and/or maintenance of remission in the nephrotic syndrome. Ciclosporin is not a first line agent. Its use should be restricted to occasions when steroids and cytostatic drugs have failed, or are not tolerated, or are considered inappropriate, and when renal function is unimpaired (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).
For the treatment of severe, active rheumatoid arthritis in patients for whom classical slow acting antirheumatic agents (including methotrexate) are inappropriate or ineffective.
In patients with severe psoriasis in whom conventional therapy is ineffective or inappropriate and the disease has caused a significant interference with quality of life.
For the treatment of severe atopic dermatitis when other treatment is ineffective or inappropriate.
Careful monitoring of all ciclosporin treated patients is mandatory. Ciclosporin should only be used by medical practitioners who are experienced in the use of immunosuppressive therapy (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

4.2 Dose and Method of Administration

Sandimmun capsules should be swallowed whole.

Conversion between oral ciclosporin formulations.

Switching from one oral ciclosporin formulation to another should be made with caution and under physician supervision. The introduction of the new formulation must be made with monitoring of blood levels of ciclosporin to ensure that preconversion levels are attained.
The dose ranges given below for oral and intravenous administration are intended to serve as guidelines only.

Organ transplantation.

Oral solution and capsules.

To initiate treatment, a single oral dose of 10-15 mg/kg should be given 4-12 hours prior to transplantation. This dose is maintained for one to two weeks postoperatively before being gradually reduced until a maintenance dose of about 2-6 mg/kg per day is reached. Routine monitoring of ciclosporin blood levels is required (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration, Clinical blood level monitoring). The results obtained will serve as a guide for determining the actual dosage required in individual patients.
When Sandimmun is given together with other immunosuppressants (e.g. with corticosteroids or as part of a triple or quadruple drug therapy) lower doses may be used. Some renal transplant patients may need less than 5 mg/kg per day even at one month after transplantation when Sandimmun is given together with corticosteroids.
The total daily amount can be given in a single dose but preferably in two divided doses.

Concentrate for intravenous infusion.

Because of the risk of anaphylaxis, the concentrate for infusion should be reserved for patients who are unable to take the drug orally. In such cases it is recommended to change to oral administration as soon as feasible after surgery. The concentrate should be diluted 1:20 to 1:100 with normal saline or 5% glucose and given as a slow intravenous infusion over approximately 2 to 6 hours.
For the initiation of treatment, if oral therapy is unacceptable, the recommended dosage is 3-5 mg/kg per day, which should be commenced 4-12 hours prior to transplantation.
During episodes of gastrointestinal disturbances which might impair absorption of orally administered Sandimmun, one-third of the previously administered oral dose should be given intravenously.

Paediatric.

Experience with ciclosporin in young children is limited. Children from one year of age have received the drug in standard dosage. In several studies, paediatric patients required and tolerated higher doses of Sandimmun per kg bodyweight than those used in adults.

Nephrotic syndrome.

For inducing remission, the recommended dose is 5 mg/kg per day for adults and 6 mg/kg per day for children if, with the exception of proteinuria, renal function is normal. In patients with impaired renal function, the initial dose should not exceed 2.5 mg/kg per day (see Section 4.3 Contraindications).
The combination of Sandimmun with low doses of oral corticosteroids has been used by some practitioners, but data on this combination are insufficient at present to allow a recommendation for such use to be made.
If no improvement has been observed after 3 months treatment, Sandimmun therapy should be discontinued.
The doses need to be adjusted individually according to efficacy (proteinuria) and safety (primarily serum creatinine), but should not exceed 5 mg/kg per day in adults and 6 mg/kg per day in children.
For maintenance treatment, the dose should be slowly reduced to the lowest effective level.

Rheumatoid arthritis.

For the first 6 weeks of treatment the recommended dose is 3 mg/kg per day orally given in two divided doses. To achieve full effectiveness, up to 12 weeks of Sandimmun therapy may be required. However, if there is no clinical response in 4 to 8 weeks, the dose of Sandimmun can be increased at 1 to 2 months intervals by 0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg per day up to a maximum dose of 5.0 mg/kg per day.
For maintenance treatment the dose has to be titrated individually according to tolerability. If a patient is on an effective maximum tolerable dose with no further improvements expected, and has been stable for at least 3 months, the dose of Sandimmun should be decreased at 0.5 mg/kg per day increments monthly or bimonthly to the lowest effective dose.
If there is essentially no clinical response by 6 months, and the maximal tolerable dose has been administered for 3 months, Sandimmun should be discontinued. (After 3 months of Sandimmun therapy without response, blood level monitoring of ciclosporin may be of value to evaluate patient compliance and/or drug absorption.)

Dose adjustment based on creatinine values.

If the serum creatinine remains increased by more than 30% above baseline at more than one measurement, the dosage of Sandimmun should be reduced. If the serum creatinine increases by more than 50%, a dosage reduction by 50% is mandatory. These recommendations apply even if the patient's values still lie within the laboratory's normal range. If the dose reduction is not successful in reducing levels within one month, Sandimmun treatment should be discontinued.
See Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions for information on the concomitant use of Sandimmun and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Psoriasis.

For inducing remission, the recommended initial dose is 2.5 mg/kg per day orally given in two divided doses. If there is no improvement after one month, the daily dose may be increased gradually, but should not exceed 5 mg/kg. Treatment should be discontinued in patients in whom sufficient response of psoriatic lesions cannot be achieved within six weeks on 5 mg/kg per day, or in whom the effective dose is not compatible with the safety guidelines (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).
An initial dose of 5 mg/kg per day is justified in patients whose condition requires rapid improvement.
For maintenance treatment, doses have to be titrated individually to the lowest effective level, and should not exceed 5 mg/kg per day.
The benefits of treatment can only be expected to continue while treatment is being given.

Atopic dermatitis.

Due to the variability of this condition, treatment must be individualised. The recommended dose range is 2.5 to 5 mg/kg per day given in two divided oral doses. If a starting dose of 2.5 mg/kg per day does not achieve a satisfactory response within two weeks of therapy, the daily dose may be rapidly increased to a maximum of 5 mg/kg. In very severe cases, rapid and adequate control of the disease is more likely to occur with a starting dose of 5 mg/kg per day. Once a satisfactory response is achieved, the dose should be reduced gradually and, if possible, Sandimmun should be discontinued. Subsequent relapse may be managed with a further course of Sandimmun.
Although a course of 8 weeks' therapy may be sufficient to achieve clearing, up to one year's therapy has been shown to be effective and well tolerated, provided the monitoring guidelines are followed.

Pharmaceutical recommendations.

Administration of oral solution.

The oral solution is provided with two syringes for measuring the doses. The 1 mL syringe is used to measure doses less than or equal to 1 mL (each graduation of 0.05 mL corresponds to 5 mg of ciclosporin). The 4 mL syringe is used to measure doses greater than 1 mL and up to 4 mL (each graduation of 0.1 mL corresponds to 10 mg of ciclosporin).
Once dispensed the oral solution should be diluted in a glass (not a plastic) container with milk or chocolate milk and stirred well immediately before being taken. The container should be rinsed with more milk to ensure that the total dose is taken.
For full instructions on administration of oral solution, see package insert.
After use, dry the outside of the syringe with a clean paper handkerchief and replace it in the protective case. The oral solution should not be refrigerated. The syringe should not be rinsed with water, alcohol or any other liquid.
Once the bottle has been opened, the contents must be used for no longer than two months.

Administration of concentrate for intravenous infusion.

If available, glass containers should be used. Polyoxyethylated castor oil contained in the concentrate for infusion can cause phthalate stripping from PVC. Containers and stoppers should be free of silicone oil and fatty substances.
Diluted infusion solutions must be discarded after 48 hours.

Clinical blood level monitoring.

The monitoring of ciclosporin blood concentration is of value in the management of patient dosage. It must be remembered, however, that the concentration of ciclosporin in the blood is only one of many factors contributing to the clinical status of the patient (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use). Results should therefore serve only as a guide to dosing in the context of other clinical and laboratory parameters.
Detailed recommendations on therapeutic monitoring of ciclosporin in transplantation are presented in the paper by Morris RG, Tett SE and Ray JE, entitled "Ciclosporin A Monitoring in Australia: Consensus Recommendations" (Ther Drug Monit 1994; 16: 570-576). The general consensus outlined in this paper is that ciclosporin parent drug concentrations be measured only in whole blood using an analytical technique exhibiting minimal or no cross reactivity with ciclosporin metabolites. The blood sample should be taken immediately before the next ciclosporin dose and the blood collection time recorded and standardised to prior to either the morning or evening dose.
Usually routine monitoring of ciclosporin blood levels need not be performed in patients receiving ciclosporin for nontransplant indications. However, monitoring may be indicated in some patients; for example, where there is unexpected treatment failure or relapse, where patients may be at high risk of an adverse reaction or a drug interaction involving Sandimmun, or where there is an urgent need to establish ciclosporin exposure, for example in some life threatening situations.

4.3 Contraindications

All indications.

Known hypersensitivity to ciclosporin and/or polyoxyethylated castor oil (Cremophor EL) or any of the other excipients of Sandimmun. Note that only the concentrate for infusion contains polyoxyethylated castor oil.

Nontransplant indications.

Uncontrolled hypertension, uncontrolled infection. Primary or secondary immunodeficiency excluding autoimmune diseases and selective IgA deficiency.
The use of ciclosporin in nephrotic syndrome is contraindicated in patients with impaired baseline renal function (serum creatinine > 200 micromol/L in adults and > 140 micromol/L in children). In other nontransplant indications, ciclosporin is contraindicated in patients with impaired renal function of any degree of severity.

4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use

General precautions.

Patient management.

Only physicians experienced in immunosuppressive therapy and the management of kidney, heart and liver transplant patients and/or in the management of nephrotic syndrome, severe rheumatoid arthritis, severe psoriasis or severe atopic dermatitis should use ciclosporin. Patients receiving the drug should be managed in facilities equipped and staffed with adequate laboratory and supportive medical resources. The physician responsible for maintenance therapy should receive complete information for the follow-up of the patient.

Monitoring ciclosporin levels in transplant patients.

When Sandimmun is used in transplant patients, routine monitoring of ciclosporin blood levels is an important safety measure (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration).

Development of malignancies.

Like other immunosuppressants, ciclosporin increases the risk of developing lymphomas and other malignancies, particularly those of the skin. The increased risk appears to be related to the degree and duration of immunosuppression rather than to the use of specific agents. Hence, a treatment regimen containing multiple immunosuppressants (including ciclosporin) should be used with caution as this could lead to lymphoproliferative disorders and solid organ tumours, some with reported fatalities (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).
Because of the significantly increased risk over time of developing skin cancers, patients taking ciclosporin should be strongly advised to avoid excessive unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light or the sun.
There is limited long-term information on the development of possible malignancy and chronic nephrotoxicity following the use of ciclosporin.

Development of infections.

Like other immunosuppressants, ciclosporin predisposes patients to the development of a variety of bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections, often with opportunistic pathogens. Activation of latent polyomavirus infections that may lead to polyomavirus associated nephropathy (PVAN), especially to BK virus nephropathy (BKVN), or to JC virus associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been observed in patients receiving ciclosporin. These conditions are often related to a high total immunosuppressive burden and should be considered in the differential diagnosis in immunosuppressed patients with deteriorating renal function or neurological symptoms. Serious and/or fatal outcomes have been reported. Effective pre-emptive and therapeutic strategies should be employed, particularly in patients on multiple long-term immunosuppressive therapy (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).

Hypertension.

Hypertension induced by ciclosporin has been reported in up to 50% of post-transplant patients and 8.5% of patients being treated for nontransplant indications. The pathophysiology of ciclosporin induced nephrotoxicity and hypertension are closely related. Regular monitoring of blood pressure is required during ciclosporin therapy; if hypertension develops, appropriate antihypertensive treatment must be instituted (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). Diuretics (especially thiazide and loop diuretics) are not recommended. Concomitant use of diuretics and ciclosporin could predispose the patient to prerenal azotemia, worsening of hyperuricaemia, glucose intolerance or hyperlipidemia. For treatment of hypertension due to ciclosporin, if calcium channel blockers are indicated, only those which do not interfere with ciclosporin pharmacokinetics are recommended (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).
As both recombinant human erythropoietin and ciclosporin are reported to increase blood pressure in a significant number of patients, caution should be exercised when administering these agents concomitantly (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).

Biochemical changes.

Hyperkalaemia.

Hyperkalaemia, which may become life threatening, can occur with ciclosporin treatment, especially in patients with renal dysfunction (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). It can be treated successfully and has also been found to disappear spontaneously. Patients receiving ciclosporin should avoid high dietary potassium intake and not be given potassium containing medication or potassium sparing diuretics (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions). Caution is also required when ciclosporin is coadministered with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Monitoring of serum potassium is recommended, especially in patients with marked renal dysfunction.

Calcium metabolism.

Although apparently not observed so far in clinical use, physicians should be aware that in various animal studies using doses comparable with those used clinically, there were several changes indicative of a drug related disturbance in calcium metabolism.

Hypomagnesaemia.

Hypomagnesaemia may increase the risk of ciclosporin related neurotoxicity. Ciclosporin enhances the clearance of magnesium. This can lead to symptomatic hypomagnesaemia, especially in the peritransplant period (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). Therefore, control of serum magnesium levels is recommended in the peritransplant period, particularly in the presence of neurological symptoms/ signs. If considered necessary, magnesium supplementation should be given.

Hyperuricaemia.

Increased incidences of hyperuricaemia and acute gout have been reported after ciclosporin treatment (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). Special monitoring of serum uric acid in high risk patients is recommended.

Lipoprotein abnormalities.

Recent reports suggest that ciclosporin may increase by 15 to 20% total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, as well as increase triglyceride levels, in renal and cardiac post-transplant patients. This effect does not seem to relate to total ciclosporin dose or ciclosporin plasma levels, and may be associated with risk factors other than immunosuppressive treatment. It is advisable to perform lipid determinations before treatment and after the first month of therapy. In the event of increased lipids being found, restriction of dietary fat and, if appropriate, a dose reduction should be considered (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). Drug treatment of ciclosporin associated hyperlipidemia is usually complicated by drug interactions between ciclosporin and some lipid lowering agents (e.g. nicotinic acid and bile acid sequestrants). Special care in combining lipid lowering agents with ciclosporin is recommended.

P-glycoprotein (Pgp).

Ciclosporin may increase blood levels of concomitant medications that are substrates for the multidrug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp) or the organic anion transporter proteins (OATP) such as aliskiren, dabigatran or bosentan. Coadministration of ciclosporin with aliskiren is not recommended. Coadministration of ciclosporin together with dabigatran or bosentan should be avoided. These recommendations are based on the potential clinical impact of these interactions (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).

Hypersensitivity.

The concentrate for i.v. infusion contains polyoxyethylated castor oil which has been reported to cause anaphylactoid reactions. These reactions consist of flushing of the face and upper thorax and noncardiogenic pulmonary oedema with acute respiratory distress, dyspnoea, wheezing, blood pressure changes and tachycardia. Special caution is therefore necessary in patients who have previously received i.v. injection or infusion preparations containing polyoxyethylated castor oil (e.g. a Cremophor EL containing preparation), or in patients with an allergic predisposition. Patients receiving Sandimmun i.v. should be under continuous observation for at least the first 30 minutes following the start of the infusion and at frequent intervals thereafter. If anaphylaxis occurs, the infusion should be discontinued. An aqueous solution of adrenaline 1:1000 and a source of oxygen should be available at the bedside.
There is some evidence that pretreatment with antihistamines may prevent the development of subsequent anaphylaxis. However, the evidence is not sufficient to recommend this course of action in every case.
The oral forms of Sandimmun do not contain polyoxyethylated castor oil.

Variable bioavailability.

Due to the interindividual variations in absorption and elimination of ciclosporin, doses should be individually titrated according to clinical response, adverse reactions (especially renal or hepatic dysfunction) and trough blood levels for transplant patients in particular. Patients with malabsorption may have difficulty in achieving therapeutic levels with the oral forms of ciclosporin.

Vaccination.

During treatment with ciclosporin, vaccination may be less effective and the use of live attenuated vaccines should be avoided (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).

Special excipient: ethanol.

Sandimmun soft gelatin capsules, oral solution and concentrate for intravenous infusion all contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol). The concentrates for intraveneous infusion contain 34% v/v ethanol. The soft gelatin capsules contain 12.8% v/v ethanol, and the oral solution contains 12.6% v/v ethanol. The Sandimmun ethanol content should be taken into account when administered to pregnant or breastfeeding women, patients presenting with liver disease or epilepsy, alcoholic patients, or children.

Use in special patient groups.

Use in organ transplantation.

Ciclosporin should not be used concurrently with other immunosuppressive agents except adrenal corticosteroids. However, some centres use ciclosporin along with azathioprine and corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive agents (all in low doses) with the aim of reducing the possible risk of ciclosporin induced renal side effects (see below). Immunosuppression can lead to increased susceptibility to infection and the possible development of malignancies or lymphoproliferative disorders. Infections are most likely to occur in the first year after transplantation, with their incidence declining substantially thereafter. Bacterial infections, primarily involving the urinary tract, lungs, i.v. line related sepsis and/or wound sites, and viral infections, typically herpes or cytomegalovirus, tend to be the most frequent.

Acute and chronic nephrotoxicity.

A frequent and potentially serious complication, an increase in serum creatinine and urea may occur during the first few weeks of ciclosporin therapy. These functional changes are dose dependent and reversible, usually responding to dose reduction. During long-term treatment, some patients may develop structural changes in the kidney (e.g. arteriolar hyalinosis, tubular atrophy, and interstitial fibrosis) which, in renal transplant patients, have to be differentiated from changes due to chronic rejection (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). Ciclosporin may also cause dose dependent, reversible increases in serum bilirubin and occasionally in liver enzymes. Close monitoring of parameters adequate for assessing renal and hepatic function is required. Abnormal values may necessitate dose reduction (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration; Section 5.1 Pharmacodynamic Properties, Clinical trials).
Post-transplant lymphomas, both polyclonal and monoclonal, and other lymphoproliferative lesions often associated with Epstein-Barr virus infections have been reported in immunosuppressed patients including those on ciclosporin, although no causal relationship has been established. Reduction or discontinuance of immunosuppression has caused regression of the lesions, often without subsequent rejection of the graft. The clinical incidence of lymphoma with ciclosporin does not appear to be greater than with other immunosuppressives.
Care should be taken in using ciclosporin with systemic antibiotics or other compounds that have nephrotoxic effects (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).

Use in nephrotic syndrome.

Since ciclosporin can impair renal function, it is necessary to assess renal function frequently and to reduce the dose by 25-50% when serum creatinine increases by more than 30% above creatinine concentrations recorded before starting ciclosporin therapy. If the increase from baseline exceeds 50%, further reductions should be considered. These recommendations apply even if the patient's values still lie within the laboratory's normal range (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration).
Ciclosporin associated structural changes on renal biopsy have been observed without consistent alteration in serum creatinine in patients treated with ciclosporin for some months. Therefore renal biopsy should be considered if, in the treatment of nephrotic syndrome, ciclosporin therapy has been maintained for more than one year.
Patients with nephrotic syndrome who have any kind of malignancy should not be treated with ciclosporin. In patients with nephrotic syndrome treated with immunosuppressants (including ciclosporin) the occurrence of malignancies (including Hodgkin's lymphoma) has occasionally been reported.

Use in rheumatoid arthritis.

Patients with impaired renal function, abnormal liver function, uncontrolled hypertension, uncontrolled infections or any kind of malignancy, or premalignant conditions such as leukoplakia, monoclonal paraproteinaemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and dysplastic naevi, should not receive ciclosporin. Ciclosporin should not be used in patients where severe complications of the heart, peripheral blood vessels or lungs are involved.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis seem particularly susceptible to the nephrotoxic effects of ciclosporin. It appears that both the underlying disease process and the various therapies used contribute to the increased susceptibility to nephropathy. Clinical trials using lower doses of ciclosporin have reported less serious changes in renal function. However, moderate to severe and/or irreversible changes have been observed in patients receiving low doses of ciclosporin when the drug is administered long-term. The risk of nephrotoxicity further increases in patients being treated with a combination of low dose ciclosporin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).
Since ciclosporin can impair renal function, a reliable baseline level of serum creatinine should be established by at least two measurements prior to treatment, and serum creatinine should be monitored at 2 weekly intervals during the first 3 months of therapy. Thereafter, measurements can be made every 4 weeks, but more frequent checks are necessary when the ciclosporin dose is increased or concomitant treatment with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is initiated or its dosage increased (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration).
Discontinuation of the drug may become necessary if hypertension developing during ciclosporin therapy cannot be controlled by appropriate antihypertensive therapy (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).
As with other long-term immunosuppressive treatments (including ciclosporin), an increased risk of lymphoproliferative disorders must be borne in mind. Special caution should be observed if Sandimmun is used in combination with methotrexate (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).

Use in psoriasis.

Patients with abnormal renal function, uncontrolled hypertension, uncontrolled infections (see Section 4.3 Contraindications) or any kind of malignancy other than of the skin (see below) should not receive ciclosporin.
Since ciclosporin can impair renal function, a reliable baseline level of serum creatinine should be established by at least two measurements prior to treatment, and serum creatinine should be monitored at two weekly intervals for the first three months of therapy. Thereafter, if creatinine remains stable, measurements should be made at monthly intervals. If the serum creatinine remains increased by more than 30% above creatinine concentrations recorded before starting ciclosporin therapy at more than one measurement, the dosage of ciclosporin must be reduced by 25-50%. These recommendations apply even if the patient's values still lie within the laboratory's normal range (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration). If a dose reduction is not successful in reducing levels within one month, ciclosporin treatment should be discontinued.
Discontinuation of ciclosporin therapy is recommended if hypertension developing during ciclosporin therapy cannot be controlled with appropriate therapy (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).
Elderly patients should be treated only in the presence of disabling psoriasis and renal function should be monitored with particular care.
In psoriatic patients on ciclosporin, as in those on conventional therapy, development of malignancies (in particular of the skin) has been reported. It was noted in an epidemiological study of clinical trials on the use of Sandimmun in psoriasis (n = 1439) that 32 cases of malignancies were reported during these trials, 17 cases of which were skin cancers; almost all of the patients who developed skin cancers had previously been exposed to PUVA. No case of melanoma was reported. In the same study, it was estimated that the risk of developing skin cancer, solid malignant tumours or lymphomas in psoriatic patients treated with Sandimmun increased by 12.40, 3.19 or 5.05 respectively over a reference population. (These estimates were corrected for the risk of developing skin or other cancers in the untreated psoriatic population, but not for the increased risk of skin and other cancers associated with previous therapy with PUVA or immunosuppressive agents other than ciclosporin.) It is noteworthy that most of the data used in the study were obtained from trials conducted in the USA and northern Europe, where the baseline incidence of skin cancer is significantly lower than that in Australia. Therefore, patients undergoing ciclosporin therapy who have been exposed to excessive Australian sunlight may be expected to have a higher risk of developing skin cancers than American or European patients.
In view of the potential risk of skin cancer, patients being treated with ciclosporin should not receive concomitant ultraviolet B irradiation or PUVA photochemotherapy.
Skin lesions not typical for psoriasis but suspected to be malignant or premalignant should be biopsied before ciclosporin treatment is started. Patients with malignant or premalignant alterations of the skin should be treated with ciclosporin only after appropriate treatment of such lesions and if no other option for successful therapy exists.
In a few psoriatic patients treated with ciclosporin, lymphoproliferative disorders have occurred. These were responsive to prompt drug discontinuation.
Long-term safety data on the use of ciclosporin in psoriasis are at present limited. There is only limited experience with the use of ciclosporin in children with psoriasis.

Use in atopic dermatitis.

Patients with abnormal renal function, uncontrolled hypertension, uncontrolled infections (see Section 4.3 Contraindications) or any kind of malignancy should not receive ciclosporin.
Since ciclosporin can impair renal function, a reliable baseline level of serum creatinine should be established by at least 2 measurements prior to treatment, and serum creatinine should be monitored at 2 weekly intervals for the first 3 months of therapy. Thereafter, if creatinine remains stable, measurements should be made at monthly intervals. If the serum creatinine increases and remains increased to more than 30% above baseline at more than one measurement, the dosage of ciclosporin must be reduced by 25 to 50%. These recommendations apply even if the patient's values still lie within the laboratory's normal range (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration). If dose reduction is not successful in reducing levels within one month, ciclosporin should be discontinued.
Discontinuation of ciclosporin therapy is also recommended if hypertension developing during ciclosporin therapy cannot be controlled with appropriate therapy (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).
As the experience with ciclosporin in children with atopic dermatitis is still limited to date, its use in this patient population is not recommended.
Elderly patients should be treated only in the presence of disabling atopic dermatitis and renal function should be monitored with particular care.
Benign lymphadenopathy is commonly associated with flares in atopic dermatitis and invariably disappears spontaneously or with general improvement in the disease. Lymphadenopathy observed on treatment with ciclosporin should be regularly monitored. Lymphadenopathy which persists despite improvement in disease activity should be examined by biopsy as a precautionary measure to ensure the absence of lymphoma.
Active herpes simplex infections should be allowed to clear before treatment with ciclosporin is initiated, but are not a reason for drug withdrawal if they occur during treatment, unless infection is severe.
Skin infections with Staphylococcus aureus are not an absolute contraindication for ciclosporin therapy, but should be controlled with appropriate antibacterial agents. Oral erythromycin, known to have the potential to increase the blood concentration of ciclosporin (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions) should be avoided or, if there is no alternative, it is recommended to closely monitor blood levels of ciclosporin, renal function, and for side effects of ciclosporin.
In view of the potential risk of skin cancer, patients on ciclosporin should be warned to avoid excess unprotected sun exposure and should not receive concomitant ultraviolet B irradiation or PUVA photochemotherapy.

Use in hepatic impairment.

Ciclosporin may cause increases in serum bilirubin and liver enzymes (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). There have been solicited and spontaneous postmarketing reports of hepatotoxicity and liver injury including cholestasis, jaundice, hepatitis and liver failure in patients treated with ciclosporin. Most reports included patients with significant co-morbidities, underlying conditions and other confounding factors including infectious complications and comedications with hepatotoxic potential. In some cases, mainly in transplant patients, fatal outcomes have been reported (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects). These changes appear to be dose related and reversible. Hepatic dysfunction, as measured by rises in serum bilirubin, has been found to be associated with proportional increases in serum ciclosporin levels in some cases.

Use in renal impairment.

Ciclosporin may cause increases in serum creatinine and urea levels, even at recommended doses, as a result of a reduced glomerular filtration rate. The mechanism leading to these changes is not fully understood. These changes are usually dose-dependent and reversible with reduction of ciclosporin dosage. Structural changes to the kidney (eg. interstitial fibrosis) may also occur, usually at higher ciclosporin dose levels. Although these renal changes are less common than functional changes, they may be irreversible. In non-transplant indications, the risk of renal structural changes is greater if the serum creatinine level increases by more than 30% from the patient's own baseline value. Thus regular measurements of serum creatinine must be made. In renal transplant patients who have received long-term treatment with ciclosporin, structural changes in the kidney must be differentiated from organ rejection.
Close monitoring of all parameters is required, with dose adjustments when indicated.

Use in the elderly.

Experience in the elderly is limited, but no particular problems have been reported following use of the drug at the recommended dose. However, factors sometimes associated with aging, in particular impaired renal function, make careful supervision essential and may necessitate dosage adjustment.
In rheumatoid arthritis clinical trials with ciclosporin, 17.5% of patients were aged 65 or older. These patients were more likely to develop systolic hypertension on therapy and more likely to show serum creatinine rises ≥ 50% above the baseline after 3-4 months of therapy. Clinical studies in transplant and psoriasis patients did not include a sufficient number of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experiences have not identified differences in response between the elderly and younger patients.
In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

Paediatric use.

Except for use in transplantation and in the treatment of nephrotic syndrome, there is no adequate experience available with ciclosporin; its use in children under 16 years of age for nontransplant indications other than nephrotic syndrome cannot be recommended. Also see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use, Special excipient: ethanol.

Effects on laboratory tests.

No data available.

4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions

Live attenuated vaccines.

During treatment with ciclosporin, vaccination may be less effective and the use of live attenuated vaccines should be avoided (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Potassium sparing drugs.

Caution is required for concomitant use of potassium sparing drugs (e.g. potassium sparing diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists) or potassium containing drugs, since they may lead to significant increases in serum potassium (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Methotrexate.

Care should be taken when using ciclosporin together with methotrexate in rheumatoid arthritis patients due to the risk of nephrotoxic synergy (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Antibiotics.

Care should be taken when using ciclosporin in conjunction with systemic antibiotics or other compounds known to have nephrotoxic effects, e.g. aminoglycosides (including gentomycin, tobramycin), amphotericin B, ciprofloxacin, melphalan, colchicine, trimethoprim (plus sulphamethoxazole), as additive nephrotoxicity has been reported to occur. Close monitoring of renal function (in particular serum creatinine) should be performed. If a significant impairment of renal function occurs, the dosage of the coadministered drug should be reduced or alternative treatment considered.
In oncology patients, the intravenous coadministration of anthracycline antibiotics and very high doses of ciclosporin has resulted in significant increased exposure in the anthracycline antibiotics (e.g. doxorubicin, mitoxanthrone, daunorubicin).

Tacrolimus.

Concomitant use with tacrolimus should be avoided due to increased potential for nephrotoxicity.

Lercanidipine.

Caution should be observed when coadministering lercanidipine with ciclosporin as the AUCs of both drugs increased with concomitant administration.

Everolimus, sirolimus.

Elevations in serum creatinine were observed in the studies using everolimus or sirolimus in combination with full dose ciclosporin microemulsion (Neoral). This effect is often reversible with ciclosporin dose reduction. Everolimus and sirolimus had only a minor influence on ciclosporin pharmacokinetics. Coadministration of ciclosporin significantly increases blood levels of everolimus and sirolimus.

Fibric acid derivatives.

In graft recipients there have been isolated reports of considerable but reversible impairment of kidney function (with corresponding increase in serum creatinine) following concomitant administration of fibric acid derivatives (e.g. bezafibrate, fenofibrate). Kidney function must, therefore, be closely monitored in these patients. In the event of significant impairment of kidney function the comedication should be withdrawn.

Cytochrome P450 isozymes, P-glycoprotein (Pgp).

Various agents, as listed in Tables 1 and 2, are known to either increase or decrease the serum or whole blood concentrations of ciclosporin by competitive inhibition or induction of those hepatic enzymes involved in the metabolism or excretion of ciclosporin, in particular CYP3A4. Ciclosporin is also an inhibitor of CYP3A4 and of the multidrug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein and may increase plasma levels of comedications that are substrates of this enzyme and/or transporter. Thus it is recommended that coadministration of such drugs with ciclosporin be avoided. In situations where combined administration is unavoidable, the following basic recommendations should be observed.
In transplant patients: frequent monitoring of ciclosporin blood levels and appropriate modification of ciclosporin dosage are essential (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration, Clinical blood level monitoring). This is especially important during the introduction or withdrawal of the coadministered drug.
In nontransplant patients where the relationship between blood level of ciclosporin and clinical effects is less well established, frequent assessment of renal function and careful monitoring for ciclosporin related side effects may be more appropriate.

Aliskiren, dabigatran, ambrisentan, bosentan.

Ciclosporin may reduce the clearance of aliskiren, bosentan or dabigatran. Following concomitant administration of ciclosporin and aliskiren, the Cmax of aliskiren was increased by approximately 2.5-fold and the AUC by approximately 5-fold. However, the pharmacokinetic profile of ciclosporin was not significantly altered (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).
Concomitant administration of dabigatran and ciclosporin leads to increased plasma levels of dabigatran due to the Pgp inhibitory activity of ciclosporin (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use). Dabigatran has a narrow therapeutic index and an increase in plasma level may be associated with an increased risk of bleeding.
Coadministration of bosentan and ciclosporin in healthy volunteers resulted in an increase in bosentan exposure and a decrease in ciclosporin exposure. Multiple dose administration of ambrisentan and ciclosporin in healthy volunteers resulted in an increase in ambrisentan exposure whilst ciclosporin exposure was marginally increased.

Food.

The bioavailability of ciclosporin has been shown to increase when the drug is taken concomitantly with grapefruit juice or a fat rich meal. It has been suggested that grapefruit juice inhibits prehepatic metabolism of ciclosporin by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract.

Nifedipine.

The concurrent administration of nifedipine with ciclosporin may result in an increased rate of gingival hyperplasia compared with that observed when ciclosporin is given alone. The concomitant use of nifedipine should be avoided in patients in whom gingival hyperplasia develops as a side effect of ciclosporin (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). As nifedipine and amlodipine can cause gingival hyperplasia, it is advised that nifedipine should be avoided in patients who develop gingival hypertrophy under ciclosporin.

Corticosteroids.

It has been found that prednisolone clearance is reduced in patients treated with ciclosporin and that plasma levels of ciclosporin increase following the administration of high dose methylprednisolone.

Digoxin.

Ciclosporin may reduce the clearance of digoxin, thereby causing digoxin toxicity. Severe digitalis toxicity has been seen within days of starting ciclosporin in several patients taking digoxin. The concomitant use of digoxin with ciclosporin should be carefully considered. If coadministration is necessary, close clinical observation is required in order to enable early detection of toxic manifestations of the drug, followed by reduction in dosage or drug withdrawal.

Colchicine, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, etoposide.

Ciclosporin may also reduce the clearance of colchicine and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) and etoposide, thereby enhancing the potential of these drugs to induce muscular toxicity, including muscle pain and weakness, myositis and occasionally rhabdomyolysis. There are reports on the potential of ciclosporin to enhance the toxic effects of colchicine such as myopathy and neuropathy, especially in patients with renal dysfunction. Literature and postmarketing cases of myotoxicity, including muscle pain and weakness, myositis and rhabdomyolysis have been reported with concomitant administration of ciclosporin with lovastatin, simvastatin, atorvastatin, pravastatin and, rarely, fluvastatin. The concomitant use of these drugs with ciclosporin should be carefully considered. If coadministration is necessary, close clinical observation is required in order to enable early detection of toxic manifestations of the drug, followed by reduction in dosage or drug withdrawal. When concurrently administered with ciclosporin, the dosage of statins should be reduced according to label recommendations. Statin therapy needs to be temporarily withheld or discontinued in patients with signs and symptoms of myopathy or those with risk factors predisposing to severe renal injury, including renal failure, secondary to rhabdomyolysis.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

As nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs alone can have an adverse effect on renal function, addition of these drugs to ciclosporin therapy or an increase in their dosage should initially be accompanied by particularly close monitoring of renal function. The concomitant use of diclofenac was found to result in a significant increase in the bioavailability of diclofenac, with a possible consequence of reversible renal function impairment. The increase in bioavailability of diclofenac is most probably caused by a reduction of its first-pass metabolism. If diclofenac is started during ciclosporin therapy, a dose of diclofenac at the lower end of the therapeutic range should be used initially. For most non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs there is a lack of direct data on whether or not they interact with ciclosporin. However, if nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with low first-pass effect (e.g. aspirin) are given together with ciclosporin, no increase in their bioavailability is expected.

Recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO).

As both recombinant human erythropoietin and ciclosporin are reported to increase blood pressure in a significant number of patients, caution should be exercised when administering these agents concomitantly.

Repaglinide.

Ciclosporin may increase the plasma concentrations of repaglinide and thereby increase the risk of hypoglycaemia.

4.6 Fertility, Pregnancy and Lactation

Effects on fertility.

No data available.
(Category C)
Ciclosporin was shown to be embryo- and fetotoxic in rats and rabbits at doses toxic to dams (rat at 30 mg/kg per day and rabbit at 100 mg/kg per day orally). Toxicity was indicated by increased pre- and postnatal mortality and reduced foetal weight together with related skeletal retardations. In the well tolerated dose range (rats up to 17 mg/kg per day and rabbits up to 30 mg/kg per day orally), ciclosporin did not demonstrate embryolethal or teratogenic effects.
In two published research studies, rabbits exposed to ciclosporin in utero (10 mg/kg/day subcutaneously) had reduced numbers of nephrons. These rabbits exhibited renal hypertrophy, systemic hypertension and progressive renal insufficiency when examined between 11 and 35 weeks of age in one study. The relevance of these findings for humans is unknown but cannot be dismissed.
The present experience with using ciclosporin in pregnancy is still limited. Although there is no evidence that ciclosporin has a direct teratogenic effect in man, the use of immunosuppressive therapy in general is associated with a higher risk of complications in the mother and the infant. Pregnant women receiving immunosuppressive therapies after transplantation, including ciclosporin and ciclosporin containing regimens, are at risk of premature delivery (< 37 weeks). It appears that the risk of foetal growth retardation is increased in mothers taking immunosuppressants, including ciclosporin. In addition, a few cases of foetal abnormalities, within the normal range, have been reported in association with ciclosporin use in pregnancy. No causal relationship has been established.
Ciclosporin may cause immunosuppression in the infant. The long-term effects on the offspring of mothers who have been treated with ciclosporin have not been assessed. Limited observations in 34 children exposed to ciclosporin in utero are available, up to a median age of 3 years (range 6 months to 7 years). Renal function was normal in all children and blood pressure was normal in the 12 children in whom it was measured.
Female transplant recipients wishing to conceive should be informed of the abovementioned risks and like all drugs, ciclosporin should be used in pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the foetus. In nontransplant patients, ciclosporin is not recommended in pregnancy where alternative treatments are available.
The ethanol content of Sandimmun formulations should also be taken into account in pregnant women (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use, Special excipient: ethanol).
Males treated with ciclosporin have been reported to have fathered normal children.
Ciclosporin passes into the breast milk. Mothers receiving treatment with ciclosporin should not, therefore, breastfeed their infants. Because of the potential of Sandimmun to cause serious adverse drug reactions in breastfed newborns/ infants, a decision should be made whether to abstain from breastfeeding or to abstain from using the medicinal drug, taking into account the importance of the medicinal product to the mother.
The ethanol content of Sandimmun formulations should also be taken into account (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use, Special excipient: ethanol).

4.7 Effects on Ability to Drive and Use Machines

The effects of this medicine on a person's ability to drive and use machines were not assessed as part of its registration.

4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)

The following adverse reactions have been observed with Sandimmun. They are usually dose dependent and responsive to dose reduction.
Evidence of renal or hepatic dysfunction warrants close monitoring of blood levels and possibly reduction in dose. In the various indications, the overall spectrum of side effects is essentially the same. However, there are differences in incidence and severity. As a consequence of the higher initial doses and longer maintenance therapy required after transplantation, side effects are more frequent in transplant patients than in patients treated for other indications.
Anaphylactoid reactions have been observed following i.v. administration (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Infections and infestations.

Patients receiving immunosuppressive therapies, including ciclosporin and ciclosporin containing regimens, are at increased risk of infections (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic) (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use). Both generalised and localised infections can occur. Pre-existing infections may also be aggravated and reactivation of polyomavirus infections may lead to polyomavirus associated nephropathy (PVAN) or to JC virus associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Serious and/or fatal outcomes have been reported.

Neoplasms benign, malignant and unspecified (including cysts and polyps).

Patients receiving immunosuppressive therapies, including ciclosporin and ciclosporin containing regimens, are at increased risk of developing lymphomas or lymphoproliferative disorders and other malignancies, particularly of the skin. The frequency of malignancies increases with the intensity and duration of therapy (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use). Some malignancies may be fatal.

Tabulated summary of adverse drug reactions.

The adverse reactions below are listed by MEDRA system organ class. Within each class, the adverse drug reactions are ranked by frequency, with the most frequent reactions first. Within each frequency grouping, adverse drug reactions are presented in order of decreasing seriousness. In addition the corresponding frequency category for each adverse drug reaction is based, using the following convention (CIOMS III): very common ≥ 10%; common ≥ 1% and < 10%; uncommon ≥ 0.1% and < 1%; rare ≥ 0.01% and < 0.1%; very rare < 0.01%.

Adverse reactions from clinical trials.

Metabolism and nutrition disorders.

Very common: hyperlipidaemia. Common: anorexia, hyperkalaemia, hyperuricaemia, hypomagnesaemia. Rare: hyperglycaemia.

General disorders and administration site conditions.

Common: pyrexia, fluid retention/ oedema, weight increase. Uncommon: weight loss, hyperthermia.

Vascular disorders.

Very common: hypertension (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use). Common: flushing. Rare: hypertension with fluid retention and convulsions, mainly in children.

Nervous system disorders.

Very common: tremor, fatigue, burning sensation in hands and feet (usually during the first week of treatment), headache including migraine. Common: paraesthesiae, convulsions. Uncommon: confusion, lethargy, depression, disorientation, decreased responsiveness, agitation, insomnia, cortical blindness, visual hallucinations, encephalopathy including posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES), vision and movement disturbances, impaired consciousness, coma, paresis, cerebellar ataxia. Rare: motor polyneuropathy. Very rare: optic disc oedema including papilloedema, with possible visual impairment, secondary to benign intracranial hypertension.

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders.

Very common: hirsutism (hypertrichosis). Common: acne, skin rash of possible allergic origin. Uncommon: itchiness. Rare: burning sensation, pigmentation.

Reproductive system and breast disorders.

Common: reversible dysmenorrhoea or amenorrhoea. Uncommon: gynaecomastia.

Gastrointestinal disorders.

Very common: gingival hypertrophy (gingival hyperplasia), gastrointestinal disturbances (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain or discomfort). Common: acute pancreatitis, peptic ulcer. Rare: gastroenteritis, asymptomatic hyperamylasemia, biliary calculous disease associated with moderate or severe hepatotoxicity.

Blood and lymphatic system disorders.

Common: leukopenia, increased susceptibility to infections, anaemia. Uncommon: thrombocytopenia. Rare: malignancies, lymphoproliferative disorders, microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia, haemolytic uraemic syndrome (thrombocytopenia, sometimes associated with microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia and renal failure, which may result in graft failure).

Hepatobiliary disorders.

Very common: hepatic function abnormal (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders.

Common: muscle cramps, myalgia. Rare: muscle weakness, myopathy.

Renal and urinary disorders.

Very common: impaired renal function (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders.

Rare: sinusitis, adult respiratory distress syndrome.

Ear and labyrinth disorders.

Uncommon: hearing loss, tinnitus.

Long-term safety monitoring.

Data on Sandimmun treated transplant recipients monitored in long-term safety follow-up studies indicate that the occurrence of most adverse events is dose dependent and that their manifestation can be minimised by giving the lowest effective dose of Sandimmun.

Post-marketing experience.

In addition to the adverse events reported in the clinical trials, the following adverse reactions (Table 3) have been reported in postmarketing surveillance. These adverse drug reactions are obtained from spontaneous case reports and literature cases. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not possible to reliably estimate their frequency, which is therefore categorized as frequency not known.

Hepatotoxicity and liver injury.

 There have been solicited and spontaneous postmarketing reports of hepatotoxicity and liver injury including cholestasis, jaundice, hepatitis and liver failure in patients with ciclosporin. Most reports included patients with significant comorbidities, underlying conditions and other confounding factors including infectious complications and comedications with hepatotoxicity potential. In some cases, mainly in transplant patients, fatal outcomes have been reported (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Acute and chronic nephrotoxicity.

Patients receiving calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) therapies, including ciclosporin and ciclosporin containing regimens are at increased risk of acute or chronic nephrotoxicity. There have been reports from clinical trials and from the postmarketing setting associated with the use of Sandimmun. Cases of acute nephrotoxicity reported disorders of ion homestasis, such as hyperkalemia, hypomagnesemia, hyperuricemia. Cases reporting chronic morphological changes included arteriolar hyalinosis, tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Pain of lower extremities.

Isolated cases of pain in lower extremities have been reported in association with ciclosporin. Pain of lower extremities has also been noted as part of calcineurin inhibitor induced pain syndrome (CIPS) as described in literature.

Reporting suspected adverse effects.

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after registration of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit-risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions at www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems.

4.9 Overdose

Symptoms.

Experience with acute overdosage with oral ciclosporin is limited. Children up to the age of 4 years who had taken oral doses of up to 600 mg and adults who had taken oral doses of up to 10 g (about 150 mg/kg), presented with only transient, nonserious adverse effects such as hypertension, increased serum creatinine, abnormal liver function test results and gastrointestinal disorders. A serious event has, however, been reported in a 11 year old liver transplant recipient who experienced a seizure associated with hypomagnesaemia following an oral dose of ciclosporin of 2600 mg.
Serious symptoms of intoxication have been reported following accidental parenteral overdosage with ciclosporin in premature neonates.

Treatment.

If indicated, symptomatic treatment and general supportive measures should be followed in cases of overdosage. Ciclosporin is not dialysable to any great extent nor is it cleared well by charcoal haemoperfusion.
For information on the management of overdose, contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (Australia).

5 Pharmacological Properties

Ciclosporin (BAN, AAN), ciclosporin (prop. INN), ciclosporine (USAN), also known as ciclosporin A. A cyclic polypeptide consisting of 11 amino acids.
It is produced as a metabolite by the fungus species Beauveria nivea (formerly Tolypocladium inflatum Gams).

5.1 Pharmacodynamic Properties

Pharmacotherapeutic group: immunosuppressive agents, calcineurin inhibitors.
ATC code: L04A D01.

Mechanism of action.

Ciclosporin is a potent immunosuppressive agent which prevents or delays rejection of solid organ allografts or xenografts in various animal models including skin, heart, kidney, pancreas, small intestine and lung.
It delays the onset of graft versus host disease after bone marrow transplantation in rodents. Successful kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, bone marrow and heart-lung allogeneic transplants have been performed in man using ciclosporin.
Ciclosporin may be used alone or with low dose corticosteroids in the prophylaxis of organ rejection following solid organ transplants. It may also be used in the treatment of transplant rejection in patients previously receiving other immunosuppressive agents.
Beneficial effects of ciclosporin therapy have also been shown in some cases of nephrotic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (see Section 4.1 Therapeutic Indications). Ciclosporin is thought to be effective in these diseases since they are known or appear to be of autoimmune origin.
Studies in animals suggest that ciclosporin inhibits the development of cell mediated reactions, including allograft immunity, delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity, experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, Freund's adjuvant arthritis, graft versus host disease and also T cell dependent antibody production. It also inhibits lymphokine production and release including interleukin 2 or T cell growth factor (TCGF). Ciclosporin appears to block the resting lymphocytes in the G0 or G1 phase of the cell cycle, and inhibits the antigen triggered release of lymphokines by activated T cells.
All available evidence suggests that ciclosporin acts specifically and reversibly on lymphocytes. Unlike cytostatic agents it does not depress haemopoiesis and has no effect on the function of phagocytic cells. Therefore, it may be expected that patients treated with ciclosporin may be less prone to infection than those receiving other immunosuppressive therapy. This was reported in two randomised trials of ciclosporin versus standard immunotherapy but was not found in a third.

Clinical trials.

Clinical trials on use in severe atopic dermatitis.

The use of ciclosporin in severe atopic dermatitis was supported primarily by the results of two prospective, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trials conducted over an 8 week treatment period (studies SIM 79 and SIM 80) and a double blind, placebo controlled parallel group study conducted over a 6 week treatment period (study SIM 24). A dose of 5 mg/kg per day was used throughout these three studies. In addition, five open labelled studies were performed to examine relapse rates following ciclosporin withdrawal or the effects of long-term therapy and different dosing strategies. In one of these studies (SIM SF04), 5 mg/kg per day of the drug was given for 6 weeks, then the relapse rates were observed over a further 6 weeks; patients who relapsed were then given a second course of ciclosporin and monitored again for relapse. In the long-term studies, the dose of ciclosporin was adjusted according to response and side effects. In several of the open studies, patients were commenced on a low ciclosporin dose (2.5-3.0 mg/kg per day), which was then adjusted if necessary.
A total of 86 patients were treated with ciclosporin in the placebo controlled studies and about 250 patients were entered into the open labelled studies, of which 178 were involved in long-term studies (98 of whom were treated for at least 12 months). Most of the patients treated in the clinical programme were adults who had severe, long standing atopic dermatitis that was resistant to conventional therapy and/or caused significant suffering and disability. In the controlled studies and in most of the open label studies, the primary measures of efficacy were the area of skin involvement and the severity of the skin disease. Other measures included itch and loss of sleep scores, the extent of topical steroid use, and a patient assessment of symptoms.
The results of the placebo controlled studies demonstrated that ciclosporin is highly effective in the majority of patients with severe atopic dermatitis; only 5 of the 86 patients treated in these studies failed to respond to therapy. The results of the long-term studies showed that efficacy could be maintained at doses less than 5 mg/kg per day over the duration of these studies, although due to their uncontrolled nature, it is difficult to assess the effects of the natural course of the disease on the long-term results. In study SIM SF04, 43% and 52% of patients relapsed 2 weeks after cessation of the first and second course of ciclosporin therapy, respectively; the relapse rate climbed to 71 and 87%, respectively, after 6 weeks. As expected, patients who commenced on a low ciclosporin dose followed by a dose adjustment did not respond as well initially as those who started on a high dose, but eventually the response rate for both groups was similar. While adverse events were frequent in the controlled studies, these were nevertheless consistent with the known side effect profile of ciclosporin. Nephrotoxicity and hypertension, normally a concern with ciclosporin use, were observed only in a few patients in the short-term studies.

5.2 Pharmacokinetic Properties

Absorption.

The absorption of ciclosporin from the gastrointestinal tract is incomplete and variable and not consistently affected by food. Peak blood concentrations are achieved at about 3.5 hours following single dose administration and within 1 to 6 hours in steady state. The absolute bioavailability of the oral forms is 20-50% at steady state; the capsules and the oral solution have been found to be bioequivalent. The plasma concentration achieved is proportional to the dose administered up to 1400 mg, although the relationship is nonlinear for whole blood. As determined by a specific HPLC assay, Cmax is approximately 0.95 nanogram/mL per mg of oral dose for plasma and 2.7-1.4 for blood (for low to high doses). A 3.5 mg/kg infusion over 4 hours produces peak blood levels of 1500-2230 nanogram/mL.

Distribution.

Ciclosporin is distributed largely outside the blood volume with an apparent volume of distribution of 3.5 L/kg (average). Within the blood, distribution is concentration dependent, with 33-47% present in plasma, 4-9% in lymphocytes, 5-12% in granulocytes and 41-58% in erythrocytes. At higher concentrations the leucocytes and erythrocytes become saturated. In plasma, approximately 90% is bound to proteins, mostly lipoproteins.

Metabolism.

Ciclosporin is extensively biotransformed to approximately 15 metabolites. There is no single major metabolic pathway. All metabolites identified so far contain the intact cyclic peptide structure of the parent compound. Major pathways consist of mono- and dihydroxylation and N-demethylation at various positions. Hepatic dysfunction, as measured by a rise in serum bilirubin, may be associated with a proportional rise in ciclosporin blood levels.

Excretion.

There is a high variability in the data reported on the terminal half-life of ciclosporin, depending on the assay applied and on the target population. The terminal half-life ranged from 6.3 hours in healthy volunteers to 20.4 hours in patients with severe liver disease. Elimination is primarily biliary with only 6% of the oral dose excreted in the urine, of which only 0.1% is unchanged drug.

5.3 Preclinical Safety Data

Genotoxicity.

Ciclosporin was not genotoxic in a series of assays for gene mutations and chromosomal damage. However, an assay for sister chromatid exchange in human lymphocytes in vitro gave indications of a positive effect at high concentrations.

Carcinogenicity.

Carcinogenicity studies were carried out in rats and mice. A 78-week mouse study, at oral doses of 1, 4 and 16 mg/kg per day, revealed a trend towards increased incidences of lymphomas at the highest dose studied. In another study with ARK mice treated with 150 mg/kg ciclosporin in the diet, ciclosporin accelerated the development of lymphomas. In a 24-month rat study, conducted at oral doses of 0.5, 2 and 8 mg/kg per day, no significant increase in tumour incidence was reported, though the study had limited sensitivity. Ciclosporin enhanced the development of lymphomas induced in two strains of male mice by single whole body irradiation or N-methyl-n-nitrosurea. The increased incidence of lymphomas observed clinically in immunosuppressed patients may possibly be related to the degree of immunosuppression (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use, General). Malignancies including Kaposi's sarcoma have also been reported in ciclosporin treated patients.

6 Pharmaceutical Particulars

6.1 List of Excipients

Sandimmun capsules and oral solution contain maize oil, ethanol (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use), and inter-esterified maize oil.
Sandimmun soft gelatin capsule shells contain gelatin, glycerol, titanium dioxide, iron oxide red CI77491 (25 and 100 mg capsules only), iron oxide yellow CI 77492 (50 mg capsules), and Anidrisorb 85/70 (sorbitol syrup).
Sandimmun concentrate for intravenous infusion contains castor oil - polyoxyethylated, macrogolglycerol ricinoleate (Cremophor EL) 65 %, and ethanol 26 % w/v (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

6.2 Incompatibilities

Incompatibilities were either not assessed or not identified as part of the registration of this medicine.

6.3 Shelf Life

In Australia, information on the shelf life can be found on the public summary of the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). The expiry date can be found on the packaging.

6.4 Special Precautions for Storage

Oral solution.

Store below 25°C. Do not refrigerate.

Capsules.

Store below 30°C.

Concentrate for infusion.

Store below 30°C.

6.5 Nature and Contents of Container

Oral solution.

100 mg/mL: bottles of 50 mL, with 1 mL and 4 mL dose dispensers*.

Capsules.

25 mg: blister packs of 50 capsules*.
50 mg: blister packs of 50 capsules*.
100 mg: blister packs of 50 capsules*.

Concentrate for intravenous infusion.

250 mg/5 mL: packs of 10 x 5 mL ampoules.
50 mg/1 mL: packs of 10 x 1 mL ampoules.
* Not all presentations are available.

6.6 Special Precautions for Disposal

In Australia, any unused medicine or waste material should be disposed of by taking to your local pharmacy.

6.7 Physicochemical Properties

Ciclosporin is poorly soluble in water (0.004% w/w) and n hexane, but is very soluble in other organic solvents and in lipids.

Chemical structure.


Chemical name: Cyclo[[(2S,3R,4R,6E)-3-hydroxy-4-methyl-2-(methylamino)oct-6- enoyl]-L-2-aminobutanoyl-N-methylglycyl-N-methyl-L-leucyl-L-valyl- N-methyl-l-leucyl-L-alanyl-D-alanyl-N-methyl-L-leucyl-N-methyl-L- leucyl-N-methyl-L-valyl].
Chemical formula: C62H111N11O12.
Molecular weight: 1202.635.

CAS number.

59865-13-3.

7 Medicine Schedule (Poisons Standard)

Schedule 4.

Summary Table of Changes