Data from FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA) - Curated by EPG Health - Last updated 13 July 2018

Indication(s)

INDICATIONS AND USAGE Kidney, Liver, and Heart Transplantation Neoral is indicated for the prophylaxis of organ rejection in kidney, liver, and heart allogeneic transplants. Neoral has been used in combination with azathioprine and corticosteroids. Rheumatoid Arthritis Neoral is indicated for the treatment of patients with severe active, rheumatoid arthritis where the disease has not adequately responded to methotrexate. Neoral can be used in combination with methotrexate in rheumatoid arthritis patients who do not respond adequately to methotrexate alone. Psoriasis Neoral is indicated for the treatment of adult, nonimmunocompromised patients with severe (i.e., extensive and/or disabling), recalcitrant, plaque psoriasis who have failed to respond to at least one systemic therapy (e.g., PUVA, retinoids, or methotrexate) or in patients for whom other systemic therapies are contraindicated, or cannot be tolerated. While rebound rarely occurs, most patients will experience relapse with Neoral as with other therapies upon cessation of treatment.

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contraindications
CONTRAINDICATIONS General Neoral is contraindicated in patients with a hypersensitivity to cyclosporine or to any of the ingredients of the formulation. Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis patients with abnormal renal function, uncontrolled hypertension, or malignancies should not receive Neoral. Psoriasis Psoriasis patients who are treated with Neoral should not receive concomitant PUVA or UVB therapy, methotrexate or other immunosuppressive agents, coal tar or radiation therapy. Psoriasis patients with abnormal renal function, uncontrolled hypertension, or malignancies should not receive Neoral.
Special warnings and precautions
PRECAUTIONS General Hypertension Cyclosporine is the active ingredient of Neoral. Hypertension is a common side effect of cyclosporine therapy which may persist. (See ADVERSE REACTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION for monitoring recommendations) Mild or moderate hypertension is encountered more frequently than severe hypertension and the incidence decreases over time. In recipients of kidney, liver, and heart allografts treated with cyclosporine, antihypertensive therapy may be required. (See Special Monitoring of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriasis Patients) However, since cyclosporine may cause hyperkalemia, potassium-sparing diuretics should not be used. While calcium antagonists can be effective agents in treating cyclosporine-associated hypertension, they can interfere with cyclosporine metabolism. (See Drug Interactions) Vaccination During treatment with cyclosporine, vaccination may be less effective; and the use of live attenuated vaccines should be avoided. Special Monitoring of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Before initiating treatment, a careful physical examination, including blood pressure measurements (on at least two occasions) and two creatinine levels to estimate baseline should be performed. Blood pressure and serum creatinine should be evaluated every 2 weeks during the initial 3 months and then monthly if the patient is stable. It is advisable to monitor serum creatinine and blood pressure always after an increase of the dose of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and after initiation of new NSAID therapy during Neoral treatment. If coadministered with methotrexate, CBC and liver function tests are recommended to be monitored monthly. (See also PRECAUTIONS, General, Hypertension) In patients who are receiving cyclosporine, the dose of Neoral should be decreased by 25% to 50% if hypertension occurs. If hypertension persists, the dose of Neoral should be further reduced or blood pressure should be controlled with antihypertensive agents. In most cases, blood pressure has returned to baseline when cyclosporine was discontinued. In placebo-controlled trials of rheumatoid arthritis patients, systolic hypertension (defined as an occurrence of two systolic blood pressure readings >140 mmHg) and diastolic hypertension (defined as two diastolic blood pressure readings >90 mmHg) occurred in 33% and 19% of patients treated with cyclosporine, respectively. The corresponding placebo rates were 22% and 8%. Special Monitoring for Psoriasis Patients Before initiating treatment, a careful dermatological and physical examination, including blood pressure measurements (on at least two occasions) should be performed. Since Neoral is an immunosuppressive agent, patients should be evaluated for the presence of occult infection on their first physical examination and for the presence of tumors initially, and throughout treatment with Neoral. Skin lesions not typical for psoriasis should be biopsied before starting Neoral. Patients with malignant or premalignant changes of the skin should be treated with Neoral only after appropriate treatment of such lesions and if no other treatment option exists. Baseline laboratories should include serum creatinine (on two occasions), BUN, CBC, serum magnesium, potassium, uric acid, and lipids. The risk of cyclosporine nephropathy is reduced when the starting dose is low (2.5 mg/kg/day), the maximum dose does not exceed 4.0 mg/kg/day, serum creatinine is monitored regularly while cyclosporine is administered, and the dose of Neoral is decreased when the rise in creatinine is greater than or equal to 25% above the patient’s pretreatment level. The increase in creatinine is generally reversible upon timely decrease of the dose of Neoral or its discontinuation. Serum creatinine and BUN should be evaluated every 2 weeks during the initial 3 months of therapy and then monthly if the patient is stable. If the serum creatinine is greater than or equal to 25% above the patient’s pretreatment level, serum creatinine should be repeated within two weeks. If the change in serum creatinine remains greater than or equal to 25% above baseline, Neoral should be reduced by 25% to 50%. If at any time the serum creatinine increases by greater than or equal to 50% above pretreatment level, Neoral should be reduced by 25% to 50%. Neoral should be discontinued if reversibility (within 25% of baseline) of serum creatinine is not achievable after two dosage modifications. It is advisable to monitor serum creatinine after an increase of the dose of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and after initiation of new nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory therapy during Neoral treatment. Blood pressure should be evaluated every 2 weeks during the initial 3 months of therapy and then monthly if the patient is stable, or more frequently when dosage adjustments are made. Patients without a history of previous hypertension before initiation of treatment with Neoral, should have the drug reduced by 25%-50% if found to have sustained hypertension. If the patient continues to be hypertensive despite multiple reductions of Neoral, then Neoral should be discontinued. For patients with treated hypertension, before the initiation of Neoral therapy, their medication should be adjusted to control hypertension while on Neoral. Neoral should be discontinued if a change in hypertension management is not effective or tolerable. CBC, uric acid, potassium, lipids, and magnesium should also be monitored every 2 weeks for the first 3 months of therapy, and then monthly if the patient is stable or more frequently when dosage adjustments are made. Neoral dosage should be reduced by 25%–50% for any abnormality of clinical concern. In controlled trials of cyclosporine in psoriasis patients, cyclosporine blood concentrations did not correlate well with either improvement or with side effects such as renal dysfunction. Information for Patients: Patients should be advised that any change of cyclosporine formulation should be made cautiously and only under physician supervision because it may result in the need for a change in dosage. Patients should be informed of the necessity of repeated laboratory tests while they are receiving cyclosporine. Patients should be advised of the potential risks during pregnancy and informed of the increased risk of neoplasia. Patients should also be informed of the risk of hypertension and renal dysfunction. Patients should be advised that during treatment with cyclosporine, vaccination may be less effective and the use of live attenuated vaccines should be avoided. Patients should be given careful dosage instructions. Neoral Oral Solution (cyclosporine oral solution, USP) MODIFIED should be diluted, preferably with orange or apple juice that is at room temperature. The combination of Neoral Oral Solution (cyclosporine oral solution, USP) MODIFIED with milk can be unpalatable. Patients should be advised to take Neoral on a consistent schedule with regard to time of day and relation to meals. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice affect metabolism, increasing blood concentration of cyclosporine, thus should be avoided.
Adverse reactions
ADVERSE REACTIONS Kidney, Liver, and Heart Transplantation The principal adverse reactions of cyclosporine therapy are renal dysfunction, tremor, hirsutism, hypertension, and gum hyperplasia. Hypertension Hypertension, which is usually mild to moderate, may occur in approximately 50% of patients following renal transplantation and in most cardiac transplant patients. Glomerular Capillary Thrombosis Glomerular capillary thrombosis has been found in patients treated with cyclosporine and may progress to graft failure. The pathologic changes resembled those seen in the hemolytic-uremic syndrome and included thrombosis of the renal microvasculature, with platelet-fibrin thrombi occluding glomerular capillaries and afferent arterioles, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and decreased renal function. Similar findings have been observed when other immunosuppressives have been employed post-transplantation. Hypomagnesemia Hypomagnesemia has been reported in some, but not all, patients exhibiting convulsions while on cyclosporine therapy. Although magnesium-depletion studies in normal subjects suggest that hypomagnesemia is associated with neurologic disorders, multiple factors, including hypertension, high dose methylprednisolone, hypocholesterolemia, and nephrotoxicity associated with high plasma concentrations of cyclosporine appear to be related to the neurological manifestations of cyclosporine toxicity. Clinical Studies In controlled studies, the nature, severity, and incidence of the adverse events that were observed in 493 transplanted patients treated with Neoral were comparable with those observed in 208 transplanted patients who received Sandimmune in these same studies when the dosage of the two drugs was adjusted to achieve the same cyclosporine blood trough concentrations. Based on the historical experience with Sandimmune, the following reactions occurred in 3% or greater of 892 patients involved in clinical trials of kidney, heart, and liver transplants. Randomized Kidney Patients Cyclosporine Patients (Sandimmune) Sandimmune Azathioprine Kidney Heart Liver Body System Adverse Reactions (N=227)% (N=228)% (N=705)% (N=112)% (N=75)% Genitourinary Renal Dysfunction 32 6 25 38 37 Cardiovascular Hypertension 26 18 13 53 27 Cramps 4 <1 2 <1 0 Skin Hirsutism 21 <1 21 28 45 Acne 6 8 2 2 1 Central Nervous System Tremor 12 0 21 31 55 Convulsions 3 1 1 4 5 Headache 2 <1 2 15 4 Gastrointestinal Gum Hyperplasia 4 0 9 5 16 Diarrhea 3 <1 3 4 8 Nausea/Vomiting 2 <1 4 10 4 Hepatotoxicity <1 <1 4 7 4 Abdominal Discomfort <1 0 <1 7 0 Autonomic Nervous System Paresthesia 3 0 1 2 1 Flushing <1 0 4 0 4 Hematopoietic Leukopenia 2 19 <1 6 0 Lymphoma <1 0 1 6 1 Respiratory Sinusitis <1 0 4 3 7 Miscellaneous Gynecomastia <1 0 <1 4 3 Among 705 kidney transplant patients treated with cyclosporine oral solution (Sandimmune) in clinical trials, the reason for treatment discontinuation was renal toxicity in 5.4%, infection in 0.9%, lack of efficacy in 1.4%, acute tubular necrosis in 1.0%, lymphoproliferative disorders in 0.3%, hypertension in 0.3%, and other reasons in 0.7% of the patients. The following reactions occurred in 2% or less of cyclosporine-treated patients: allergic reactions, anemia, anorexia, confusion, conjunctivitis, edema, fever, brittle fingernails, gastritis, hearing loss, hiccups, hyperglycemia, migraine (Neoral), muscle pain, peptic ulcer, thrombocytopenia, tinnitus. The following reactions occurred rarely: anxiety, chest pain, constipation, depression, hair breaking, hematuria, joint pain, lethargy, mouth sores, myocardial infarction, night sweats, pancreatitis, pruritus, swallowing difficulty, tingling, upper GI bleeding, visual disturbance, weakness, weight loss. Patients receiving immunosuppressive therapies, including cyclosporine and cyclosporine -containing regimens, are at increased risk of infections (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic). Both generalized and localized infections can occur. Pre-existing infections may also be aggravated. Fatal outcomes have been reported. (See WARNINGS) Infectious Complications in Historical Randomized Studies in Renal Transplant Patients Using Sandimmune Cyclosporine Treatment Azathioprine with Steroids* (N=227) (N=228) Complication % of Complications % of Complications Septicemia 5.3 4.8 Abscesses 4.4 5.3 Systemic Fungal Infection 2.2 3.9 Local Fungal Infection 7.5 9.6 Cytomegalovirus 4.8 12.3 Other Viral Infections 15.9 18.4 Urinary Tract Infections 21.1 20.2 Wound and Skin Infections 7.0 10.1 Pneumonia 6.2 9.2 *Some patients also received ALG. Postmarketing Experience, Kidney, Liver and Heart Transplantation Hepatotoxicity Cases of hepatotoxicity and liver injury including cholestasis, jaundice, hepatitis and liver failure; serious and/or fatal outcomes have been reported. (See WARNINGS, Hepatotoxicity) Increased Risk of Infections Cases of JC virus-associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), sometimes fatal; and polyoma virus-associated nephropathy (PVAN), especially BK virus resulting in graft loss have been reported. (See WARNINGS, Polyoma Virus Infection) Headache, including Migraine Cases of migraine have been reported. In some cases, patients have been unable to continue cyclosporine, however, the final decision on treatment discontinuation should be made by the treating physician following the careful assessment of benefits versus risks. Pain of lower extremities Isolated cases of pain of lower extremities have been reported in association with cyclosporine. Pain of lower extremities has also been noted as part of Calcineurin-Inhibitor Induced Pain Syndrome (CIPS) as described in the literature. Rheumatoid Arthritis The principal adverse reactions associated with the use of cyclosporine in rheumatoid arthritis are renal dysfunction (See WARNINGS), hypertension (See PRECAUTIONS), headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, and hirsutism/hypertrichosis. In rheumatoid arthritis patients treated in clinical trials within the recommended dose range, cyclosporine therapy was discontinued in 5.3% of the patients because of hypertension and in 7% of the patients because of increased creatinine. These changes are usually reversible with timely dose decrease or drug discontinuation. The frequency and severity of serum creatinine elevations increase with dose and duration of cyclosporine therapy. These elevations are likely to become more pronounced without dose reduction or discontinuation. The following adverse events occurred in controlled clinical trials: Neoral /Sandimmune Rheumatoid Arthritis Percentage of Patients with Adverse Events ≥ 3% in any Cyclosporine Treated Group Studies Study Study Study Study Studies 651+652+2008 302 654 654 302 651+652+2008 Body Preferred Sandimmune† Sandimmune Methotrexate & Sandimmune Methotrexate & Placebo Neoral Placebo System Term (N=269) (N=155) (N=74) (N=73) (N=143) (N=201) Autonomic Nervous System Disorders Flushing 2% 2% 3% 0% 5% 2% Body As A Whole–General Disorders Accidental Trauma 0% 1% 10% 4% 4% 0% Edema NOS* 5% 14% 12% 4% 10% <1% Fatigue 6% 3% 8% 12% 3% 7% Fever 2% 3% 0% 0% 2% 4% Influenza-like symptoms <1% 6% 1% 0% 3% 2% Pain 6% 9% 10% 15% 13% 4% Rigors 1% 1% 4% 0% 3% 1% Cardiovascular Disorders Arrhythmia 2% 5% 5% 6% 2% 1% Chest Pain 4% 5% 1% 1% 6% 1% Hypertension 8% 26% 16% 12% 25% 2% Central and Peripheral Nervous System Disorders Dizziness 8% 6% 7% 3% 8% 3% Headache 17% 23% 22% 11% 25% 9% Migraine 2% 3% 0% 0% 3% 1% Paresthesia 8% 7% 8% 4% 11% 1% Tremor 8% 7% 7% 3% 13% 4% Gastrointestinal System Disorders Abdominal Pain 15% 15% 15% 7% 15% 10% Anorexia 3% 3% 1% 0% 3% 3% Diarrhea 12% 12% 18% 15% 13% 8% Dyspepsia 12% 12% 10% 8% 8% 4% Flatulence 5% 5% 5% 4% 4% 1% Gastrointestinal Disorder NOS* 0% 2% 1% 4% 4% 0% Gingivitis 4% 3% 0% 0% 0% 1% Gum Hyperplasia 2% 4% 1% 3% 4% 1% Nausea 23% 14% 24% 15% 18% 14% Rectal Hemorrhage 0% 3% 0% 0% 1% 1% Stomatitis 7% 5% 16% 12% 6% 8% Vomiting 9% 8% 14% 7% 6% 5% Hearing and Vestibular Disorders Ear Disorder NOS* 0% 5% 0% 0% 1% 0% Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders Hypomagnesemia 0% 4% 0% 0% 6% 0% Musculoskeletal System Disorders Arthropathy 0% 5% 0% 1% 4% 0% Leg Cramps / Involuntary Muscle Contractions 2% 11% 11% 3% 12% 1% Psychiatric Disorders Depression 3% 6% 3% 1% 1% 2% Insomnia 4% 1% 1% 0% 3% 2% Renal Creatinine elevations ≥30% 43% 39% 55% 19% 48% 13% Creatinine elevations ≥50% 24% 18% 26% 8% 18% 3% Reproductive Disorders, Female Leukorrhea 1% 0% 4% 0% 1% 0% Menstrual Disorder 3% 2% 1% 0% 1% 1% Respiratory System Disorders Bronchitis 1% 3% 1% 0% 1% 3% Coughing 5% 3% 5% 7% 4% 4% Dyspnea 5% 1% 3% 3% 1% 2% Infection NOS* 9% 5% 0% 7% 3% 10% Pharyngitis 3% 5% 5% 6% 4% 4% Pneumonia 1% 0% 4% 0% 1% 1% Rhinitis 0% 3% 11% 10% 1% 0% Sinusitis 4% 4% 8% 4% 3% 3% Upper Respiratory Tract 0% 14% 23% 15% 13% 0% Skin and Appendages Disorders Alopecia 3% 0% 1% 1% 4% 4% Bullous Eruption 1% 0% 4% 1% 1% 1% Hypertrichosis 19% 17% 12% 0% 15% 3% Rash 7% 12% 10% 7% 8% 10% Skin Ulceration 1% 1% 3% 4% 0% 2% Urinary System Disorders Dysuria 0% 0% 11% 3% 1% 2% Micturition Frequency 2% 4% 3% 1% 2% 2% NPN, Increased 0% 19% 12% 0% 18% 0% Urinary Tract Infection 0% 3% 5% 4% 3% 0% Vascular (Extracardiac) Disorders Purpura 3% 4% 1% 1% 2% 0% † Includes patients in 2.5 mg/kg/day dose group only. *NOS=Not Otherwise Specified. In addition, the following adverse events have been reported in 1% to <3% of the rheumatoid arthritis patients in the cyclosporine treatment group in controlled clinical trials. Autonomic Nervous System: dry mouth, increased sweating Body as a Whole: allergy, asthenia, hot flushes, malaise, overdose, procedure NOS*, tumor NOS*, weight decrease, weight increase Cardiovascular: abnormal heart sounds, cardiac failure, myocardial infarction, peripheral ischemia Central and Peripheral Nervous System: hypoesthesia, neuropathy, vertigo Endocrine: goiter Gastrointestinal: constipation, dysphagia, enanthema, eructation, esophagitis, gastric ulcer, gastritis, gastroenteritis, gingival bleeding, glossitis, peptic ulcer, salivary gland enlargement, tongue disorder, tooth disorder Infection: abscess, bacterial infection, cellulitis, folliculitis, fungal infection, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, renal abscess, moniliasis, tonsillitis, viral infection Hematologic: anemia, epistaxis, leukopenia, lymphadenopathy Liver and Biliary System: bilirubinemia Metabolic and Nutritional: diabetes mellitus, hyperkalemia, hyperuricemia, hypoglycemia Musculoskeletal System: arthralgia, bone fracture, bursitis, joint dislocation, myalgia, stiffness, synovial cyst, tendon disorder Neoplasms: breast fibroadenosis, carcinoma Psychiatric: anxiety, confusion, decreased libido, emotional lability, impaired concentration, increased libido, nervousness, paroniria, somnolence Reproductive (Female): breast pain, uterine hemorrhage Respiratory System: abnormal chest sounds, bronchospasm Skin and Appendages: abnormal pigmentation, angioedema, dermatitis, dry skin, eczema, nail disorder, pruritus, skin disorder, urticaria Special Senses: abnormal vision, cataract, conjunctivitis, deafness, eye pain, taste perversion, tinnitus, vestibular disorder Urinary System: abnormal urine, hematuria, increased BUN, micturition urgency, nocturia, polyuria, pyelonephritis, urinary incontinence *NOS=Not Otherwise Specified Psoriasis The principal adverse reactions associated with the use of cyclosporine in patients with psoriasis are renal dysfunction, headache, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, hirsutism/hypertrichosis, paresthesia or hyperesthesia, influenza-like symptoms, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, and musculoskeletal or joint pain. In psoriasis patients treated in US controlled clinical studies within the recommended dose range, cyclosporine therapy was discontinued in 1.0% of the patients because of hypertension and in 5.4% of the patients because of increased creatinine. In the majority of cases, these changes were reversible after dose reduction or discontinuation of cyclosporine. There has been one reported death associated with the use of cyclosporine in psoriasis. A 27-year-old male developed renal deterioration and was continued on cyclosporine. He had progressive renal failure leading to death. Frequency and severity of serum creatinine increases with dose and duration of cyclosporine therapy. These elevations are likely to become more pronounced and may result in irreversible renal damage without dose reduction or discontinuation. Adverse Events Occurring in 3% or More of Psoriasis Patients in Controlled Clinical Trials Body System* Preferred Term Neoral (N=182) Sandimmune (N=185) Infection or Potential Infection 24.7% 24.3% Influenza-Like Symptoms 9.9% 8.1% Upper Respiratory Tract Infections 7.7% 11.3% Cardiovascular System 28.0% 25.4% Hypertension** 27.5% 25.4% Urinary System 24.2% 16.2% Increased Creatinine 19.8% 15.7% Central and Peripheral Nervous System 26.4% 20.5% Headache 15.9% 14.0% Paresthesia 7.1% 4.8% Musculoskeletal System 13.2% 8.7% Arthralgia 6.0% 1.1% Body As a Whole–General 29.1% 22.2% Pain 4.4% 3.2% Metabolic and Nutritional 9.3% 9.7% Reproductive, Female 8.5% (4 of 47 females) 11.5% (6 of 52 females) Resistance Mechanism 18.7% 21.1% Skin and Appendages 17.6% 15.1% Hypertrichosis 6.6% 5.4% Respiratory System 5.0% 6.5% Bronchospasm, Coughing, Dyspnea, Rhinitis 5.0% 4.9% Psychiatric 5.0% 3.8% Gastrointestinal System 19.8% 28.7% Abdominal Pain 2.7% 6.0% Diarrhea 5.0% 5.9% Dyspepsia 2.2% 3.2% Gum Hyperplasia 3.8% 6.0% Nausea 5.5% 5.9% White cell and RES 4.4% 2.7% *Total percentage of events within the system **Newly occurring hypertension = SBP ≥160 mm Hg and/or DBP ≥90 mm Hg The following events occurred in 1% to less than 3% of psoriasis patients treated with cyclosporine: Body as a Whole: fever, flushes, hot flushes Cardiovascular: chest pain Central and Peripheral Nervous System: appetite increased, insomnia, dizziness, nervousness, vertigo Gastrointestinal: abdominal distention, constipation, gingival bleeding Liver and Biliary System: hyperbilirubinemia Neoplasms: skin malignancies [squamous cell (0.9%) and basal cell (0.4%) carcinomas] Reticuloendothelial: platelet, bleeding, and clotting disorders, red blood cell disorder Respiratory: infection, viral and other infection Skin and Appendages: acne, folliculitis, keratosis, pruritus, rash, dry skin Urinary System: micturition frequency Vision: abnormal vision Mild hypomagnesemia and hyperkalemia may occur but are asymptomatic. Increases in uric acid may occur and attacks of gout have been rarely reported. A minor and dose related hyperbilirubinemia has been observed in the absence of hepatocellular damage. Cyclosporine therapy may be associated with a modest increase of serum triglycerides or cholesterol. Elevations of triglycerides (>750 mg/dL) occur in about 15% of psoriasis patients; elevations of cholesterol (>300 mg/dL) are observed in less than 3% of psoriasis patients. Generally these laboratory abnormalities are reversible upon dose reduction or discontinuation of cyclosporine. Postmarketing Experience, Psoriasis Cases of transformation to erythrodermic psoriasis or generalized pustular psoriasis upon either withdrawal or reduction of cyclosporine in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis have been reported.

Usage information

Dosing and administration
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION Neoral Soft Gelatin Capsules (cyclosporine capsules, USP) MODIFIED and Neoral Oral Solution (cyclosporine oral solution, USP) MODIFIED Neoral has increased bioavailability in comparison to Sandimmune. Neoral and Sandimmune are not bioequivalent and cannot be used interchangeably without physician supervision. The daily dose of Neoral should always be given in two divided doses (BID). It is recommended that Neoral be administered on a consistent schedule with regard to time of day and relation to meals. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice affect metabolism, increasing blood concentration of cyclosporine, thus should be avoided. Specific Populations Renal Impairment in Kidney, Liver, and Heart Transplantation Cyclosporine undergoes minimal renal elimination and its pharmacokinetics do not appear to be significantly altered in patients with end-stage renal disease who receive routine hemodialysis treatments (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). However, due to its nephrotoxic potential (See WARNINGS), careful monitoring of renal function is recommended; cyclosporine dosage should be reduced if indicated. (See WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS) Renal Impairment in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriasis Patients with impaired renal function should not receive cyclosporine. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS) Hepatic Impairment The clearance of cyclosporine may be significantly reduced in severe liver disease patients (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). Dose reduction may be necessary in patients with severe liver impairment to maintain blood concentrations within the recommended target range (See WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS). Newly Transplanted Patients The initial oral dose of Neoral can be given 4 to 12 hours prior to transplantation or be given postoperatively. The initial dose of Neoral varies depending on the transplanted organ and the other immunosuppressive agents included in the immunosuppressive protocol. In newly transplanted patients, the initial oral dose of Neoral is the same as the initial oral dose of Sandimmune. Suggested initial doses are available from the results of a 1994 survey of the use of Sandimmune in US transplant centers. The mean ± SD initial doses were 9±3 mg/kg/day for renal transplant patients (75 centers), 8±4 mg/kg/day for liver transplant patients (30 centers), and 7±3 mg/kg/day for heart transplant patients (24 centers). Total daily doses were divided into two equal daily doses. The Neoral dose is subsequently adjusted to achieve a pre-defined cyclosporine blood concentration. (See Blood Concentration Monitoring in Transplant Patients, below) If cyclosporine trough blood concentrations are used, the target range is the same for Neoral as for Sandimmune. Using the same trough concentration target range for Neoral as for Sandimmune results in greater cyclosporine exposure when Neoral is administered. (See Pharmacokinetics, Absorption) Dosing should be titrated based on clinical assessments of rejection and tolerability. Lower Neoral doses may be sufficient as maintenance therapy. Adjunct therapy with adrenal corticosteroids is recommended initially. Different tapering dosage schedules of prednisone appear to achieve similar results. A representative dosage schedule based on the patient’s weight started with 2.0 mg/kg/day for the first 4 days tapered to 1.0 mg/kg/day by 1 week, 0.6 mg/kg/day by 2 weeks, 0.3 mg/kg/day by 1 month, and 0.15 mg/kg/day by 2 months and thereafter as a maintenance dose. Steroid doses may be further tapered on an individualized basis depending on status of patient and function of graft. Adjustments in dosage of prednisone must be made according to the clinical situation. Conversion from Sandimmune to Neoral in Transplant Patients In transplanted patients who are considered for conversion to Neoral from Sandimmune, Neoral should be started with the same daily dose as was previously used with Sandimmune (1:1 dose conversion). The Neoral dose should subsequently be adjusted to attain the pre-conversion cyclosporine blood trough concentration. Using the same trough concentration target range for Neoral as for Sandimmune results in greater cyclosporine exposure when Neoral is administered. (See Pharmacokinetics, Absorption) Patients with suspected poor absorption of Sandimmune require different dosing strategies. (See Transplant Patients with Poor Absorption of Sandimmune, below) In some patients, the increase in blood trough concentration is more pronounced and may be of clinical significance. Until the blood trough concentration attains the pre-conversion value, it is strongly recommended that the cyclosporine blood trough concentration be monitored every 4 to 7 days after conversion to Neoral. In addition, clinical safety parameters such as serum creatinine and blood pressure should be monitored every two weeks during the first two months after conversion. If the blood trough concentrations are outside the desired range and/or if the clinical safety parameters worsen, the dosage of Neoral must be adjusted accordingly. Transplant Patients with Poor Absorption of Sandimmune Patients with lower than expected cyclosporine blood trough concentrations in relation to the oral dose of Sandimmune may have poor or inconsistent absorption of cyclosporine from Sandimmune. After conversion to Neoral, patients tend to have higher cyclosporine concentrations. Due to the increase in bioavailability of cyclosporine following conversion to Neoral, the cyclosporine blood trough concentration may exceed the target range. Particular caution should be exercised when converting patients to Neoral at doses greater than 10 mg/kg/day. The dose of Neoral should be titrated individually based on cyclosporine trough concentrations, tolerability, and clinical response. In this population the cyclosporine blood trough concentration should be measured more frequently, at least twice a week (daily, if initial dose exceeds 10 mg/kg/day) until the concentration stabilizes within the desired range. Rheumatoid Arthritis The initial dose of Neoral is 2.5 mg/kg/day, taken twice daily as a divided (BID) oral dose. Salicylates, NSAIDs, and oral corticosteroids may be continued. (See WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions) Onset of action generally occurs between 4 and 8 weeks. If insufficient clinical benefit is seen and tolerability is good (including serum creatinine less than 30% above baseline), the dose may be increased by 0.5–0.75 mg/kg/day after 8 weeks and again after 12 weeks to a maximum of 4 mg/kg/day. If no benefit is seen by 16 weeks of therapy, Neoral therapy should be discontinued. Dose decreases by 25%-50% should be made at any time to control adverse events, e.g., hypertension elevations in serum creatinine (30% above patient’s pretreatment level) or clinically significant laboratory abnormalities. (See WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS) If dose reduction is not effective in controlling abnormalities or if the adverse event or abnormality is severe, Neoral should be discontinued. The same initial dose and dosage range should be used if Neoral is combined with the recommended dose of methotrexate. Most patients can be treated with Neoral doses of 3 mg/kg/day or below when combined with methotrexate doses of up to 15 mg/week. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Trials) There is limited long-term treatment data. Recurrence of rheumatoid arthritis disease activity is generally apparent within 4 weeks after stopping cyclosporine. Psoriasis The initial dose of Neoral should be 2.5 mg/kg/day. Neoral should be taken twice daily, as a divided (1.25 mg/kg BID) oral dose. Patients should be kept at that dose for at least 4 weeks, barring adverse events. If significant clinical improvement has not occurred in patients by that time, the patient’s dosage should be increased at 2-week intervals. Based on patient response, dose increases of approximately 0.5 mg/kg/day should be made to a maximum of 4.0 mg/kg/day. Dose decreases by 25% to 50% should be made at any time to control adverse events, e.g., hypertension, elevations in serum creatinine (≥25% above the patient’s pretreatment level), or clinically significant laboratory abnormalities. If dose reduction is not effective in controlling abnormalities, or if the adverse event or abnormality is severe, Neoral should be discontinued. (See Special Monitoring of Psoriasis Patients) Patients generally show some improvement in the clinical manifestations of psoriasis in 2 weeks. Satisfactory control and stabilization of the disease may take 12 to 16 weeks to achieve. Results of a dose-titration clinical trial with Neoral indicate that an improvement of psoriasis by 75% or more (based on PASI) was achieved in 51% of the patients after 8 weeks and in 79% of the patients after 16 weeks. Treatment should be discontinued if satisfactory response cannot be achieved after 6 weeks at 4 mg/kg/day or the patient’s maximum tolerated dose. Once a patient is adequately controlled and appears stable the dose of Neoral should be lowered, and the patient treated with the lowest dose that maintains an adequate response (this should not necessarily be total clearing of the patient). In clinical trials, cyclosporine doses at the lower end of the recommended dosage range were effective in maintaining a satisfactory response in 60% of the patients. Doses below 2.5 mg/kg/day may also be equally effective. Upon stopping treatment with cyclosporine, relapse will occur in approximately 6 weeks (50% of the patients) to 16 weeks (75% of the patients). In the majority of patients rebound does not occur after cessation of treatment with cyclosporine. Thirteen cases of transformation of chronic plaque psoriasis to more severe forms of psoriasis have been reported. There were 9 cases of pustular and 4 cases of erythrodermic psoriasis. Long term experience with Neoral in psoriasis patients is limited and continuous treatment for extended periods greater than one year is not recommended. Alternation with other forms of treatment should be considered in the long term management of patients with this life long disease. Neoral Oral Solution (cyclosporine oral solution, USP) MODIFIED–Recommendations for Administration To make Neoral Oral Solution (cyclosporine oral solution, USP) MODIFIED more palatable, it should be diluted with orange or apple juice that is at room temperature. Patients should avoid switching diluents frequently. Grapefruit juice affects metabolism of cyclosporine and should be avoided. The combination of Neoral solution with milk can be unpalatable. The effect of milk on the bioavailability of cyclosporine when administered as Neoral Oral Solution has not been evaluated. Take the prescribed amount of Neoral Oral Solution (cyclosporine oral solution, USP) MODIFIED from the container using the dosing syringe supplied, after removal of the protective cover, and transfer the solution to a glass of orange or apple juice. Stir well and drink at once. Do not allow diluted oral solution to stand before drinking. Use a glass container (not plastic). Rinse the glass with more diluent to ensure that the total dose is consumed. After use, dry the outside of the dosing syringe with a clean towel and replace the protective cover. Do not rinse the dosing syringe with water or other cleaning agents. If the syringe requires cleaning, it must be completely dry before resuming use. Blood Concentration Monitoring in Transplant Patients Transplant centers have found blood concentration monitoring of cyclosporine to be an essential component of patient management. Of importance to blood concentration analysis are the type of assay used, the transplanted organ, and other immunosuppressant agents being administered. While no fixed relationship has been established, blood concentration monitoring may assist in the clinical evaluation of rejection and toxicity, dose adjustments, and the assessment of compliance. Various assays have been used to measure blood concentrations of cyclosporine. Older studies using a nonspecific assay often cited concentrations that were roughly twice those of the specific assays. Therefore, comparison between concentrations in the published literature and an individual patient concentration using current assays must be made with detailed knowledge of the assay methods employed. Current assay results are also not interchangeable and their use should be guided by their approved labeling. A discussion of the different assay methods is contained in Annals of Clinical Biochemistry 1994;31:420-446. While several assays and assay matrices are available, there is a consensus that parent-compound-specific assays correlate best with clinical events. Of these, HPLC is the standard reference, but the monoclonal antibody RIAs and the monoclonal antibody FPIA offer sensitivity, reproducibility, and convenience. Most clinicians base their monitoring on trough cyclosporine concentrations. Applied Pharmacokinetics, Principles of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (1992) contains a broad discussion of cyclosporine pharmacokinetics and drug monitoring techniques. Blood concentration monitoring is not a replacement for renal function monitoring or tissue biopsies.
Pregnancy and lactation
Nursing Mothers Cyclosporine is present in breast milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse drug reactions in nursing infants from Neoral, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. Neoral contains ethanol. Ethanol will be present in human milk at levels similar to that found in maternal serum and if present in breast milk will be orally absorbed by a nursing infant (See WARNINGS).

Interactions

Drug Interactions (See PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions) When diclofenac or methotrexate was coadministered with cyclosporine in rheumatoid arthritis patients, the AUC of diclofenac and methotrexate, each was significantly increased. (See PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions) No clinically significant pharmacokinetic interactions occurred between cyclosporine and aspirin, ketoprofen, piroxicam, or indomethacin. Specific Populations Renal Impairment In a study performed in 4 subjects with end-stage renal disease (creatinine clearance <5 mL/min), an intravenous infusion of 3.5 mg/kg of cyclosporine over 4 hours administered at the end of a hemodialysis session resulted in a mean volume of distribution (Vdss) of 3.49 L/kg and systemic clearance (CL) of 0.369 L/hr/kg. This systemic CL (0.369 L/hr/kg) was approximately two thirds of the mean systemic CL (0.56 L/hr/kg) of cyclosporine in historical control subjects with normal renal function. In 5 liver transplant patients, the mean clearance of cyclosporine on and off hemodialysis was 463 mL/min and 398 mL/min, respectively. Less than 1% of the dose of cyclosporine was recovered in the dialysate. Hepatic Impairment Cyclosporine is extensively metabolized by the liver. Since severe hepatic impairment may result in significantly increased cyclosporine exposures, the dosage of cyclosporine may need to be reduced in these patients.

More information

Category Value
Authorisation number NDA050715
Agency product number 83HN0GTJ6D
Orphan designation No
Product NDC 0078-0274,0078-0246,0078-0248
Date Last Revised 22-12-2017
Type HUMAN PRESCRIPTION DRUG
RXCUI 835911
Marketing authorisation holder Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Warnings WARNING Only physicians experienced in management of systemic immunosuppressive therapy for the indicated disease should prescribe Neoral. At doses used in solid organ transplantation, only physicians experienced in immunosuppressive therapy and management of organ transplant recipients should prescribe Neoral. Patients receiving the drug should be managed in facilities equipped and staffed with adequate laboratory and supportive medical resources. The physician responsible for maintenance therapy should have complete information requisite for the follow-up of the patient. Neoral, a systemic immunosuppressant, may increase the susceptibility to infection and the development of neoplasia. In kidney, liver, and heart transplant patients Neoral may be administered with other immunosuppressive agents. Increased susceptibility to infection and the possible development of lymphoma and other neoplasms may result from the increase in the degree of immunosuppression in transplant patients. Neoral Soft Gelatin Capsules (cyclosporine capsules, USP) MODIFIED and Neoral Oral Solution (cyclosporine oral solution, USP) MODIFIED have increased bioavailability in comparison to Sandimmune Soft Gelatin Capsules (cyclosporine capsules, USP) and Sandimmune Oral Solution (cyclosporine oral solution, USP). Neoral and Sandimmune are not bioequivalent and cannot be used interchangeably without physician supervision. For a given trough concentration, cyclosporine exposure will be greater with Neoral than with Sandimmune. If a patient who is receiving exceptionally high doses of Sandimmune is converted to Neoral, particular caution should be exercised. Cyclosporine blood concentrations should be monitored in transplant and rheumatoid arthritis patients taking Neoral to avoid toxicity due to high concentrations. Dose adjustments should be made in transplant patients to minimize possible organ rejection due to low concentrations. Comparison of blood concentrations in the published literature with blood concentrations obtained using current assays must be done with detailed knowledge of the assay methods employed.