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Cyclosporine Blood Test

Last updated Oct. 11, 2015

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD MPH


What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Gengraf® Blood Test
  • Neoral® Blood Test
  • Sandimmune® Blood Test 

What is Cyclosporine Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant drug. The brand names for cyclosporine include Sandimmune®, Gengraf®, and Neoral®
  • Cyclosporine is used to prevent organ transplant rejection, most notably of the kidney, heart, and liver. It is also used to treat autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease
  • Cyclosporine works by preventing T-lymphocytes, a type of specialized white blood cell, from producing interleukin-2 (IL-2). IL-2 causes the growth and division of T-lymphocytes. Thus, by preventing its production, cyclosporine suppresses the immune system
  • The immune system is responsible for defending the body against foreign invaders. These include bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms
  • Immune system suppression may be desired after purposely introducing a foreign object into the body for a therapeutic purpose. An example of this is an organ transplant
  • Excessive or inappropriate T-lymphocyte stimulation is also responsible for a variety of diseases. Cyclosporine is sometimes used to suppress the immune system and diminish the harmful effects of abnormal T-lymphocyte stimulation
  • However, like every other drug, cyclosporine must be kept within a certain range to prevent unwanted effects. If levels are too high, toxicity may result; if levels are too low, the drug may not be of a therapeutic value
  • A Cyclosporine Blood Test is a test to assess the levels of cyclosporine in blood. It is used when adjusting the initial dose, and to ensure that cyclosporine levels stay within an acceptable range 

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Cyclosporine Blood Test?

The clinical indications for performing a Cyclosporine Blood Test include monitoring cyclosporine therapy. 

How is the Specimen Collected for Cyclosporine Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Cyclosporine Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process: Insertion of a needle into an arm vein.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test. 

What is the Significance of the Cyclosporine Blood Test Result?

The significance of Cyclosporine Blood Test is explained:

  • Excessive cyclosporine levels may indicate cyclosporine toxicity. This condition is marked by:
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Tremors
    • Jaundice
    • Bleeding
    • Swelling 
  • Decreased cyclosporine levels may indicate that more cyclosporine is necessary, in order to achieve a therapeutic dose 

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. 

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Cyclosporine is a powerful drug that has significant side effects on cells in the body. It is often used, only when milder options have been exhausted 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis. 

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

DoveMed is currently working to bring you additional resources.

Please sign up by creating a DoveMed account to receive periodic notification on information updates. 

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Ganong, W. F. (2005). Review of medical physiology. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.

Lab Tests Online (2013, December 23). Retrieved July 30, 2014 from http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/cyclosporine/

Schnell, Z. B., Van, L. A., & Kranpitz, T. R. (2003). Davis's Comprehensive handbook of laboratory and diagnostic tests: With nursing implications. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis. 

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 4, 2014
Last updated: Oct. 11, 2015