Cyclosporine for adult atopic dermatitis

Cyclosporine (such as Neoral) suppresses the immune system (immunosuppressant) and is used to treat severe cases of adult atopic dermatitis that haven't responded to other treatments. By blocking the body's inflammation process, this oral medication can effectively control atopic dermatitis itch and rash.

Cyclosporine has been extensively studied since the late 1980s and has proven to be relatively safe when used under doctor supervision.


The most common side effects of cyclosporine are increased blood pressure and kidney problems. Blood pressure and kidney function are monitored every 2 to 4 weeks during treatment.1 If you are using cyclosporine:

  • Check with your health professional before taking any other medication, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Cyclosporine can interact with numerous medications, causing exaggerated and dangerous side effects.1
  • Avoid sun exposure. When used on a long-term basis, cyclosporine can increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about drinking grapefruit juice while you are taking cyclosporine. Grapefruit juice can increase the level of this medicine in your blood. Having too much medicine in your blood increases your chances of having serious side effects.


  1. Sidbury R, Hanifin J (2000). Systemic therapy of atopic dermatitis. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 25(7): 559–566.

Last Updated: May 5, 2008

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Martin Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine

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