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Sirolimus Blood Test

Last updated July 26, 2019

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

A Sirolimus Blood Test is a test to assess the levels of sirolimus in blood.

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

  • Rapamune® Blood Test
  • Rapamycin Blood Test 

What is Sirolimus Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Sirolimus is an immunosuppressant drug. It is used to prevent organ transplant rejection, most notably that of kidney, heart, and liver. The other names for sirolimus include Rapamune® and Rapamycin
  • Sirolimus works by preventing T-lymphocytes, a type of specialized white blood cell, from being activated. It also prevents B lymphocytes from making antibodies, which are circulatory defense proteins
  • T-lymphocytes and the antibodies from B lymphocytes may attack transplanted organs and cause a rejection
  • The immune system is responsible for defending the body against foreign invaders. These include bacteria, viruses, and other particles
  • However, 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.
  • Like every other drug, sirolimus must be kept within a certain range to prevent unwanted effects. If levels are too high, it may result in toxicity; if the levels are too low, the drug may not be of a therapeutic value.
  • A Sirolimus Blood Test is a test to assess the levels of sirolimus in blood. It is used when adjusting the initial dose. It is also used to ensure that sirolimus levels stay within an acceptable range 

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

The clinical indication for performing a Sirolimus Blood Test includes monitoring sirolimus therapy. 

How is the Specimen Collected for Sirolimus Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Sirolimus 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 Sirolimus Blood Test Result?

The significance of Sirolimus Blood Test is explained:

  • Excessive sirolimus levels may indicate sirolimus toxicity. This is marked by:
    • Elevated blood pressure
    • Elevated heart rate
    • Sleeplessness
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Fever, headache
    • Pale appearance
    • Chest pain
    • Easy bruising
    • Excessive bleeding
  • Decreased sirolimus levels may indicate that more sirolimus drug is necessary 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:

  • Sirolimus is a relatively new drug that may be less toxic than other immunosuppressant drugs, such as cyclosporine and methotrexate. Nevertheless, it is often used in conjunction with these drugs
  • Individuals being administered sirolimus should consult their physician prior to getting any vaccines 

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.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 1, 2014
Last updated: July 26, 2019