Prograf and/or Equivalent Tacrolimus Prescription Information
Prograf is the brand name for the Immunosuppressant medication, Tacrolimus. Prograf is used by transplant recipients, particularly those who have received a kidney, heart or liver and is designed to prevent the body from rejecting the new organ. Prograf is also used to treat Fistulizing Crohnâ€™s Disease in patients who are unable to take the usual prescribed treatment or who have found the standard treatment to be ineffective.
Used to prevent the body from rejecting transplanted organs, Prograf works by inhibiting the function of the enzyme, calcineurin. Calcineurin is essential for the multiplication of T-cells and immune system processes. Doctors order Prograf to help reduce the quantity of steroids they need to administer to patients. Steroids are also used to prevent rejection, but long-term usage can result in many side effects. Prograf is used for liver transplants, as well as heart and kidney transplants, small bowel transplants and bone marrow transplants.
Prograf capsules should be taken twice daily, with dosages ranging between 0.075milligrams per kilogram per day to 0.2 milligrams per kilogram per day. The precise quantities are determined by measuring the level of Prograf in the blood. When patients purchase Prograf, they should note that the capsules must be taken regularly and consistently in order to avoid any major swings in the levels of the medication in the blood. The drug has a tendency to cause abdominal pain, which may be reduced by consuming food; however this may also reduce the amount of Prograf that can be absorbed into the blood. Prograf injections are also available and may be used for transplant patients who are unable to tolerate the capsules.
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Does Prograf have any Side Effects?
Doctors who prescribe that their patients buy Prograf should make them aware of the many and varied side effects associated with the medication. Some of them are relatively mild, such as loss of appetite, nausea and headache. Other side effects may range in severity from mild to life-threatening and include anemia, diarrhea, high blood pressure, fever and rash, high blood sugar concentrations, high concentrations of potassium in the blood, infection, insomnia, kidney damage and seizures.
While there have been no conclusive studies to determine the effects of Prograf on the fetus, it has been found to cross the placenta. Use of Prograf while pregnant may result in elevated levels of potassium in newborns and damage to the kidneys has been reported. Most physicians will only recommend that a pregnant patient use Prograf only if it is clearly and definitely required. Prograf is also passed to the baby through breast milk, so it is advised that breastfeeding should be discontinued while Prograf is being taken.
The breakdown of Prograf in the blood can be inhibited by a great number of medications, leading to higher levels of the medication in the body, making the risk of more serious side effects possible. Some of these drugs include lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), cimetidine (Tagamet), cyclosporine, erythromycin, metoclopramide (Reglan) and ketoconazole (Nizoral). Grapefruit juice may also prevent the breakdown of the medication and should be avoided while taking Prograf. Other drugs decrease Prograf breakdown, carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin) and St. John's Wort.
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