Cyclosporine A

Clinical definition of the cyclosporine test
Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant. It is used to prevent transplant rejection in people who have received kidney, liver and heart transplants. It dampens the body’s natural defense system and   affects the ability of white blood cells in the immune system to respond to a foreign tissue, and gives the transplanted organ a better chance of survival. Cyclosporine is also used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (swelling of joints) and psoriasis (a skin disease in which red scaly patches form on some areas of the body).Cyclosporine test ensures that the drug levels are in a range that will be therapeutic. When cyclosporine levels are too low, organ rejection may occur in case of transplantation or symptoms may reappear in autoimmune cases. It is also important to ensure levels are not too high to prevent toxicity. Cyclosporin blood levels are monitored to ensure that each individual is receiving the right amount of drug needed to treat a particular case.

Why is the cyclosporine test done?
Cyclosporine test is done to determine the concentration of cyclosporine in the blood to maintain therapeutic levels and detect toxic levels.  It is important to monitor levels of the drug for the following reasons:

  • Absorption and metabolism of oral doses of cyclosporine can vary greatly between people and even in the same person depending on the time of dose and what food is eaten.
  • There can be variation in blood levels due to the brand or preparation of cyclosporine prescribed.
  • In transplant patients, it is particularly important for Graft survival to ensure that cyclosporine levels are high enough immediately following surgery to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ.
  • Blood levels need to be high enough in the case of rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis to begin to give relief from symptoms.
  • In the case of kidney transplantation, blood levels help to distinguish between kidney rejection and kidney damage due to high levels of cyclosporine.

Cyclosporine is associated with several toxic side effects that can be avoided if blood levels are monitored and the dose adjusted if the level detected is too high.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the cyclosporine test is done?

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Tingling in the fingers and toes
  • Aches in joints
  • Growth of hair 

What should I do before the cyclosporine test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

Serum (Blood Sample)


Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

No Fasting Required.

No other special preparations required.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my cyclosporin test results?


Reference range*


1 month

1500 ng/ml

2 months


3 months


4 to 6 months


Renal transplant (CO) >6months

250- 375 ng/ml

Renal transplant (C2) <6 months

250- 375ng/ml














‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the cyclosporine test

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Crohn's disease

Other tests related to the cyclosporine test

  • Therapeutic drug monitoring
  • BUN
  • Creatinine
  • Lipid profile
  • Liver function test