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Updated October 23, 2008

A Fast and Powerful Pill for Psoriasis:

Cyclosporine is generally considered a quick-acting and powerful psoriasis treatment drug. Because of cyclosporine's relatively risky side-effects profile, newer safer drugs have made the use of cyclosporine less popular. There are however patients for whom this drug is quite useful.

Who Should Take This Drug?:

Patients with severe psoriasis can use cyclosporine, preferably for the short term. Examples include those transitioning to a slower-acting but safer medicine as well as patients who are flaring or failing another treatment who need help fast.

Which Patients Should Avoid This Drug?:

Since it is an immunity-suppressing drug, patients with serious infections or cancer should avoid cyclosporine. It should also be avoided if you have hypertension or kidney disease. Caution should be used if you're taking other medications since it can interact with many commonly used drugs.

What are the Side Effects of Cyclosporine?:

The serious side effects that usually limit the use of cyclosporine to short periods include hypertension and kidney damage. Less serious side effects include overgrowth of gum tissue (gingival hyperplasia) and excess hair growth (hirsutism).

Source: Camisa C. Handbook of Psoriasis, 2nd Ed. Blackwell Publishing, USA 2004.

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