Gengraf is a prescription medication originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1983. Gengraf is approved to treat severe psoriasis in adults who do not respond to other treatments. Gengraf is sometimes prescribed to treat psoriatic arthritis. Gengraf is also known by its drug name, cyclosporine.
Gengraf should not be used by people with active infections, kidney dysfunction, uncontrolled hypertension, compromised immune systems or a history of cancer. Gengraf should be used with caution by people who have liver problems and those who have previously been treated with coal tar, Ultraviolet light B (UVB), Psoralen + PUVA (PUVA), Methotrexate or related immunosuppressant drugs, or radiation.
Gengraf is an immunosuppressant, or, in other words, a drug that suppresses the immune system. Gengraf binds to proteins in T cells, a type of white blood cell involved in autoimmune reactions and interferes with their growth and activity. Gengraf is believed to work by inhibiting T cells from participating in autoimmune attacks.
How do I take it?
Your doctor may order regular blood tests to monitor your kidney function while you are taking Gengraf, especially if you are older.
Gengraf is taken orally as a capsule once or twice a day. Take Gengraf at the same times each day.
Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking Gengraf. Your doctor may also ask you to limit the amount of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, prunes, and orange juice you consume while taking Gengraf.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds while using Gengraf. Cover skin with clothing or sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher if you go out into the sunshine.
Visit your dentist regularly while taking Gengraf, and inform them that you are taking the medication.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Gengraf.
A 2005 article reviewed the use of cyclosporine (Gengraf) as a treatment for psoriasis. The author described cyclosporine as one of the most effective and fastest-acting medications for psoriasis.
In a 2012 article on the use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs to treat psoriatic arthritis, cyclosporine is mentioned as being an effective treatment in a small number of people.
Common side effects of Gengraf, include headache, diarrhea, constipation, acne, shaking hands, increased hair growth, tingling sensation in hands and feet, mouth sores and overgrowth of the gums.
In rare cases, Gengraf may increase your risk of developing skin cancer. The risk increases with exposure to sunlight and past treatment with coal tar, methotrexate or other immunosuppressive drugs, light therapy, or radiation.
You may be more likely to contract infections, including serious and life-threatening infections, due to decreased immune system function while taking Gengraf. Contact your doctor if you develop signs of infection such as fever, cough, trouble breathing, white patches in the mouth, or unusual vaginal discharge.
Gengraf can cause high blood pressure and liver and kidney problems. Inform your doctor if you develop pale or yellowing skin or eyes, vision or mood changes, seizures, confusion, rash, or swelling in your extremities.
Seek medical help immediately if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction such as trouble breathing, severe dizziness, a rash, or itching or swelling of the face, tongue, and throat.