Brand name: Rapamune
Class of drugs: Immunosuppressant
Why is sirolimus prescribed?
Sirolimus is prescribed to transplant patients in order to prevent organ rejection. Upon receiving an organ transplant, the patient's body's white blood cells will try to get rid of the new organ (called rejection). Sirolimus suppresses the body's immune system to prevent this from happening.
How is Sirolimus given?
This medication comes either in either tablet or as an oral solution. The dosage varies with individuals. Sirolimus should be taken exactly as your doctor has directed. You will need to take immunosuppressant drugs every day for the rest of your life to prevent transplant rejection. Do not take more or less than the recommended dose.
Sirolimus works best when it is constantly in the bloodstream so you should try to take it around the same time each day. Absorption of this drug may be affected by changes in your diet, so you should not change the type or amount of food you eat without first consulting with your doctor.
Are there any special precautions I should follow before taking sirolimus?
Before taking sirolimus, inform your doctor:
- Of any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you are currently taking; this includes any herbal medications or supplements that you are taking.
- If you have allergies, chickenpox (or were recently exposed to it), high cholesterol, shingles or any infections.
What special instructions should I follow while using this drug?
Do not have any immunizations or vaccinations without your doctor’s approval.
- Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory so that your response to this drug can be monitored. You will have frequent blood tests to monitor sirolimus in your system.
- These blood tests will also help your doctor adjust the dosage of the medication if necessary.
- Do not eat raw oysters or other raw shellfish. They may contain bacteria that can cause serious illness or even death for people with weakened immune systems. Be sure that all shellfish you eat is fully cooked.
- Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice. Grapefruit may increase the effects of this drug by increasing the amount of it in your system.
- Because your immune system is diminished, try to avoid people with colds and other infections.
- Be sure that you have enough medication on hand. Check your supply before holidays or other occasions where you may be unable to fill your prescription. If you must travel outside the country, keep in mind that sirolimus is not approved and may not be available in all countries.
What are the common side effects?
The most common side effects from taking sirolimus include:
- High cholesterol
- Low potassium
- Loss of energy
- Muscle or joint pain
When should I call my doctor?
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- Chest pain
- Black, tarry stool
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen glands
- Yellow skin or eyes
- High fever (as defined by your doctor)
- Increase/decrease in urination
- Very bad smelling urine
- Cloudy or bloody urine
What should I do if I forget a dose?
- If a dose is missed, simply take it as soon as possible. However, if it is close to when you are scheduled to take your next dose, simply skip the missed dose and proceed with your regular schedule.
- Do not take a double dose.
What storage conditions are necessary for this drug?
- Sirolimus should be kept in its original container, tightly sealed and away from children.
- The tablet form should be stored in room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom) and out of direct sunlight.
- Any medication that is outdated or unused should be thrown away.
- The oral solution should be kept refrigerated.
- If needed, it can be kept up to 5 days at room temperature, however do not use it if it has been at room temperature longer than 5 days.
For More Information
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 216.444.8282. We will be happy to answer your questions.