What Is Tacrolimus (Prograf)?
Tacrolimus is the generic version of the brand name drug Prograf, which is used along with other medicines to prevent organ rejection in people who’ve had a kidney, liver, or heart transplant.
The drug is also sometimes used to treat Crohn’s disease(a condition where the body attacks the lining of the digestive tract).
Prograf (tacrolimus) is an immunosuppressant. It works by blocking the action of certain blood cells that can prompt the body to reject a transplanted organ.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved tacrolimus in 1994. Prograf is manufactured by Astellas Pharma US.
Tacrolimus contains a black-box warning because it may increase your risk of infection and your chances of developing skin cancer or lymphoma.
Tell your doctor right away if you notice any of the following symptoms while taking tacrolimus:
- Signs of infection, which may include fever, chills, or sore throat
- Unusual growths or lumps
- Any changes in the appearance or size of a mole
- Night sweats
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
- Weight loss
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain
- Pain, swelling, or fullness in the stomach area
To lower your risk of skin cancer, avoid tanning beds and unnecessary exposure to sunlight while taking this drug. Wear protective clothing and sunscreen if you must be outdoors.
This medicine should only be given under the supervision of a physician who is experienced in treating organ transplant patients and administering drugs that decrease the activity of the immune system.
Before taking tacrolimus, tell your doctor if you have or have had:
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Pure red blood cell aplasia (a type of anemia)
- Long QT syndrome (a heart rhythm disorder)
- Liver disease
- A history of infections
- High blood pressure
- High levels of potassium in the blood
- A weakened immune system
- Skin cancer or a family history of skin cancer
- Allergies to medications
Be sure to tell your physician about all the drugs you take. Some medications may increase your chances of developing QT prolongation (a type of irregular heartbeat).
Also, tell your healthcare provider if you take or if you’ve recently stopped taking the drug Gengraf, Neoral or Sandimmune (cyclosporine).
Your physician will probably tell you not to start tacrolimus until 24 hours after your last dose of cyclosporine.
Tacrolimus may cause high blood pressure. Your doctor will need to monitor your blood pressure carefully during your treatment.
The medicine may also increase your chances of developing diabetes during treatment. Hispanics and African Americans who’ve had kidney transplants are at an especially high risk.
Tell your physician if you or anyone in your family has ever had diabetes, and tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive thirst or hunger
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
Let your healthcare provider know you’re taking this medicine before having any type of surgery, including a dental procedure.
Don’t receive any vaccination while taking tacrolimus without first talking to your doctor.
Continue to take tacrolimus even if you feel well. Don’t stop using this medicine without first talking to your doctor.
Keep all appointments with your healthcare provider while taking this drug. Your doctor will want to frequently monitor your body’s response to the therapy.
Pregnancy and Tacrolimus
Tacrolimus may cause harm to an unborn baby.
Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or might become pregnant before taking this medicine.
The drug can be found in breast milk. Don’t breastfeed a baby while taking tacrolimus.
Tacrolimus Side Effects
Common Side Effects of Tacrolimus
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects are severe or don’t go away:
- Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Joint or back pain
- Rash or itching
- Burning, pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
Serious Side Effects of Tacrolimus
Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms listed in the Warning section or any of the following serious side effects:
- Decreased, painful, or burning urination
- Weight gain
- Swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Abelcet, Ambisome or Amphotec (amphotericin b)
- Antifungal medications such as Diflucan (fluconazole), Lotrimin or Mycelex (clotrimazole), Nizoral (ketoconazole), Sporanox (itraconazole), and Vfend (voriconazole)
- Calcium channel blockers such as Adalat or Procardia (nifedipine), Calan, Covera-HS or Isoptin (verapamil), Cardene (nicardipine), and Cardizem (diltiazem)
- Cancidas (caspofungin)
- Certain antibiotics such as Amikin (amikacin), Biaxin (clarithromycin), E.E.S., E-Mycin, or Erythrocin (erythromycin), Garamycin (gentamicin), Neo-Fradin (neomycin), streptomycin, TAO (troleandomycin), and Tobi (tobramycin) (not available in the US)
- Certain diuretics (water pills)
- Certain medications for seizures such as Dilantin (phenytoin), Luminal (phenobarbital), and Tegretol (carbamazepine)
- Cytovene (ganciclovir)
- Danocrine (danazol)
- HIV protease inhibitors such as Crixivan (indinavir), Norvir (ritonavir), and Viracept (nelfinavir)
- Hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, rings, inserts, or injections)
- Medrol (methylprednisolone)
- Mycobutin (rifabutin)
- Parlodel (bromocriptine)
- Platinol (cisplatin)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Propulsid (cisapride) (not available in the U.S.)
- Rapamune (sirolimus)
- Reglan (metoclopramide)
- Rifadin and Rimactane (rifampin)
- St. John’s wort
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
Tacrolimus and Other Interactions
Tacrolimus may cause dizziness. Don’t drive or operate machinery until you know how the drug affects you.
Tacrolimus and Alcohol
Alcohol may worsen certain side effects of tacrolimus.
Talk to your doctor before consuming alcohol while taking this medicine.
Tacrolimus and Grapefruit
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interfere with how tacrolimus works in the body.
Talk to your doctor about this potential interaction.
Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully when taking or receiving tacrolimus. Don’t use more or less of the drug than is recommended.
Whole blood levels can be monitored in patients who take tacrolimus to ensure they’re taking the correct dose and to decrease the risk of adverse effects.
The capsules are typically taken twice a day.
Try to space your doses about 12 hours apart, and take this medicine around the same time each day.
The injection of tacrolimus is usually administered at a doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic. This formulation is typically reserved for patients who can’t tolerate taking the medicine by mouth.
It’s typically given as an ongoing infusion beginning no sooner than six hours after transplant surgery and continuing until the medicine can be taken orally.
Symptoms of a tacrolimus overdose may include hives or sleepiness.
If you suspect an overdose, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
You can get in touch with a poison control center at 800-222-1222.
Missed Dose of Tacrolimus
If you miss a dose of tacrolimus, take it as soon as you remember.
However, skip the missed dose if it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose. Don’t take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
If you miss an injection of tacrolimus, tell your doctor right away.
You need to remember certain points such as –
|If you are a woman who is pregnant or wants to have a baby and you are taking tacrolimus, let your doctor know right away. This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby. Use a birth control method while you are taking this immunosuppressive medicine. Ask your doctor to help you choose a method of birth control that will work for you.|
|For the safety of the baby, breastfeeding isn’t recommended during treatment. Many immunosuppressive drugs like tacrolimus, may appear in high levels in breast milk and could potentially harm your nursing baby. To get more information, you should discuss this with your doctor. Your health care provider might recommend that you stop breast-feeding temporarily or permanently — depending on how long you need to take the medication.|
|You will need to have regular blood tests and check-ups during your treatment with tacrolimus. Blood tests are done to help watch your body’s response to treatment. They can show small changes before problems get serious. Keeping track of your results lets your doctor take action as soon as your blood counts change to help prevent many kidney-related problems and renal treatment side effects.|
|Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to tacrolimus drug or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes or preservatives. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.|
|Whether it’s safe to drink alcoholic beverages during treatment with tacrolimus depends on a number of factors, including which drugs the patient is receiving. Alcohol can interfere with the way some haemo-oncology drugs work, so patients should speak with their doctors about any potential side effects of drinking during treatment.|
|Always consult your doctor and pharmacist about taking any other prescription or non-prescription medication, including herbs, supplements and street drugs. This medicine may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how tacrolimus works. Taking tacrolimus together with certain medicines or products may cause serious side effects.|
|If you miss a dose of tacrolimus, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. If it is close to the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your dosing schedule. Do not use extra dose to make up for a missed dose. Please consult your doctor to discuss changes in your dosing schedule or a new schedule to make up for missed doses, if you have missed too many doses recently.|
|Taking a single dose of expired medicine is unlikely to produce an adverse event. Expired drug may become ineffective in treating your prescribed conditions. To be on the safe side, it is important not to use expired drug. If you’ve had a medicine for a while, check the expiry date before using it. If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.|
|Before using tacrolimus, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially if you have liver problems (including hepatitis B or C infection), diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, heart or pancreas problems, or low blood potassium levels etc.|
What are the storage instructions for tacrolimus ?
Patients must properly store the drug to retain its quality and efficacy. Following storage instructions will be helpful in storing the drug in the best of manner.
- Store tacrolimus 1.0mg Tablets at 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F).
- Consider storing your medications separately from your other family members. This will make it less likely that you take the wrong ones by mistake.
- Store the medicine in a safe place out of the reach of children and pets.
- Keep this medicine away from heat, light and humidity. Improper storage can affect the effectiveness and shelf life of your medicine.
- Do not Store tacrolimus in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
In order to legally purchase this medicine from anticancercure.com, you’ll require a prescription from your Registered Medical Practitioner.
The information provided here is for general educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or pharmaceutical advice which should be sought from qualified medical and pharmaceutical advisers.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children and away from pets, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
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