At a glance
Also known as
Why get tested?
To determine the concentration of cyclosporin in your blood in order to establish a dosing regimen, maintain therapeutic levels and detect toxic levels.
When to get tested?
As soon as cyclosporin therapy begins, usually daily or 2-3 times a week, and periodically after that as dose is adjusted or maintained.
A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm.
Test preparation needed?
What is being tested?
This test measures the amount of cyclosporin in the blood. Cyclosporin is an drug used to dampen the body’s natural defences. When patients undergo an organ transplant, their immune system recognises the graft as a foreign substance and will begin to attack it just as it would any invasive or . Cyclosporin affects the ability of certain white blood cells in the immune system to respond to this foreign tissue. The transplanted organ then has a better chance of survival and will not be as easily rejected by the patient’s system. Cyclosporin is used routinely in the transplantation of kidney, heart, liver and other organs.
The immunosuppressive qualities of cyclosporin have also been found to be useful in treating of some autoimmune and other disorders. These conditions are characterised by the immune system reacting to the body’s own cells or tissue. Cyclosporin helps to control the immune response in these cases decreasing the severity of symptoms. Some examples include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, aplastic anaemia, and Crohn’s disease.
When the symptoms in these cases are judged to be severe, extensive and disabling, cyclosporin may be prescribed. Usually, the symptoms have not responded well to other treatments or medications.
Testing cyclosporin levels in the blood can help ensure that drug levels are in a range that will be therapeutic for you. If the level is too low, organ rejection may occur (in the case of transplantation) or symptoms may reappear (autoimmune cases). It is also important to ensure levels are not too high and will not result in .
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.
Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?
No test preparation is needed. Samples may be collected 12 hours after the last dose or just before the next dose (trough levels). On mornings when you are scheduled to have your cyclosporine level checked, do not take your medication until after your blood is drawn.