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Rapamune is a medicine used to prevent organ rejection in people who have had a kidney transplant. Rapamune is also used to treat lymphangioleiomyomatosis (a rare lung disease that affects predominantly women of childbearing age). Rapamune is available as tablets and an oral solution.
How does this medication work?
Your immune system is your body's defense against things that can cause infection and disease. Unfortunately, it cannot tell the difference between a harmful virus or bacteria and your new organ, so its natural response is to reject it. Rapamune works by stopping your immune system from rejecting your new organ.
What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?
Kidney Transplant: Rapamune has been shown to extend survival in people receiving a kidney transplant.
Lymphangioleiomyomatosis: Rapamune may improve lung function during treatment.
When: Though you may not feel a change in the way you feel, it is very important to keep receiving Rapamune as prescribed to prevent your body from rejecting your new organ.
How do I know it is working?
Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly to check the amount of Rapamune in your body and may ask you questions from time to time to assess how well this medication is working.
The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.
Rapamune can increase your risk of developing lymphoma (a type of cancer involving cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes) and other types of cancers (including skin cancer).
More common side effects may include: swelling of hands and feet, increase blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels (a type of fat in your blood), high blood pressure, abdominal (stomach area) or joint pain, diarrhea, headache, fever, urinary tract infection, low red blood cell count, nausea, pain, low platelet (a type of blood cells that form clots to help stop bleeding) counts.
More common side effects may include: mouth sores, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, sore throat, acne (pimples), chest pain, swelling of hands and feet, upper respiratory infection, headache, dizziness, sore muscles, and increase blood cholesterol levels.
Less common side effects of Rapamune may include:
Increased risk of serious and life-threatening infections, including viral, fungal, or bacterial infections with symptoms such as a fever; sweats or chills; cough or flu-like symptoms; muscle aches; or warm, red, or painful areas on your skin.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus) with symptoms such as changes in mood or usual behavior, confusion, problems thinking, loss of memory, changes in walking or talking, decreased strength or weakness on one side of the body, or changes in vision.
Serious allergic reactions with symptoms such as trouble breathing or wheezing; swelling of your face, eyes, or mouth; throat tightness; feeling dizzy or faint; rash or peeling of your skin.
Fluid retention in your hands, feet, or different areas in your body, including your lungs and heart.
Lung or breathing problems with symptoms such as new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing.
Decreased wound healing with symptoms such as redness or drainage of your wounds.
Blood clotting problems with symptoms such as unexplained bleeding or bruising.
Rapamune may also cause kidney problems.
Do not take Rapamune if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.
Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Rapamune. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have liver problems, skin cancer, high blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.
Adults and children ≥13 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you or your child, based on the condition and body weight.
Adults: The starting dose is 2 milligrams per day. Your healthcare provider may adjust your dose as needed until the desired effect is achieved.
If you or your child has liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.
Take Rapamune exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Rapamune without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Take Rapamune the same way every day, with or without food.
Swallow Rapamune tablets whole. Do not crush, chew, or split Rapamune tablets.
Rapamune oral solution may develop a slight haze when it is refrigerated. If this happens, bring the oral solution to room temperature and gently shake the bottle until the haze goes away.
If you are taking a medicine called cyclosporine, separate your cyclosporine dose at least 4 hours apart from your Rapamune dose.
If you get Rapamune oral solution on your skin or in your eyes, wash the area right away.
If you are a woman of child-bearing age, use effective birth control during your treatment with Rapamune and for 12 weeks after stopping Rapamune.
Do not drink grapefruit juice while you are taking Rapamune.
Do not receive any live vaccines while you are receiving Rapamune. Talk to your healthcare provider about what vaccines to avoid.
Do not expose yourself to excessive amounts of sunlight and ultraviolet light, such as tanning machines. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen when outdoors.
If Rapamune is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Rapamune may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.
The effects of Rapamune during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while you are taking Rapamune. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
If you miss a dose of Rapamune, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.
Store oral solution in the refrigerator. Use open bottles of oral solution within one month. Store tablets at room temperature. Protect from light.
In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222
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