Sirolimus may increase the risk that you will develop an infection or cancer, especially lymphoma (cancer of a part of the immune system) or skin cancer. To reduce your risk of skin cancer, plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen during your treatment. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: fever, sore throat, chills, frequent or painful urination, or other signs of infection; new sores or changes on the skin; night sweats; swollen glands in the neck, armpits, or groin; unexplained weight loss; trouble breathing; chest pain; weakness or tiredness that does not go away; or pain, swelling, or fullness in the stomach.
Sirolimus may cause serious side effects or death in patients who have had liver or lung transplants. This medication should not be given to prevent rejection of liver or lung transplants.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to sirolimus.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking sirolimus.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Sirolimus is used in combination with other medications to prevent rejection of kidney transplants. Sirolimus is in a class of medications called immunosuppressants. It works by suppressing the body's immune system.
How should this medicine be used?
Sirolimus comes as a tablet and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day, either always with food or always without food. To help you remember to take sirolimus, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take sirolimus exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
Your doctor will probably adjust your dose of sirolimus during your treatment, usually not more than once every 7 to 14 days.
Continue to take sirolimus even if you feel well. Do not stop taking sirolimus without talking to your doctor.
Sirolimus solution may develop a haze when refrigerated. If this happens, let the bottle stand at room temperature and gently shake it until the haze goes away. The haze does not mean that the medication is damaged or unsafe to use.
To use the bottles of solution, follow these steps:
- Open the solution bottle. On first use, insert the plastic tube with stopper tightly into the bottle until it is even with the top of the bottle. Do not remove from the bottle once inserted.
- For each use, tightly insert one of the amber syringes, with the plunger fully pushed in, into the opening in the plastic tube.
- Draw up the amount of solution your doctor has prescribed by gently pulling out the plunger of the syringe until the bottom of the black line of the plunger is even with the correct mark on the syringe. Keep the bottle upright. If bubbles form in the syringe, empty the syringe into the bottle and repeat this step.
- Empty the syringe into a glass or plastic cup containing at least 2 ounces (60 milliliters [1/4 cup]) of water or orange juice. Do not use apple juice, grapefruit juice, or other liquids. Stir vigorously for 1 minute and drink immediately.
- Refill the cup with at least 4 ounces (120 milliliters [1/2 cup]) of water or orange juice. Stir vigorously and drink the rinse solution.
- Dispose of the used syringe.
If you need to carry a filled syringe with you, snap a cap onto the syringe and put the syringe in the carrying case. Use the medication in the syringe within 24 hours.
Other uses for this medicine
Sirolimus also is used sometimes to treat psoriasis. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking sirolimus,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to sirolimus, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in sirolimus tablets or solution. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: aminoglycoside antibiotics such as amikacin, gentamicin, kanamycin, neomycin (Neo-Fradin, Neo-Rx), streptomycin, and tobramycin (Tobi); amphotericin B (Abelcet, AmBisome, Amphocin, Fungizone); angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik); antifungals such as clotrimazole (Lotrimin), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), and voriconazole (Vfend); bromocriptine (Cycloset, Parlodel); cimetidine (Tagamet); cisapride (Propulsid) (not available in the U.S.); clarithromycin (Biaxin); danazol (Danocrine); diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); HIV protease inhibitors such as indinavir (Crixivan) and ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra); certain medications for cholesterol; medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital (Luminal), and phenytoin (Dilantin); metoclopramide (Reglan); nicardipine (Cardene); rifabutin (Mycobutin); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); rifapentine (Priftin); telithromycin (Ketek); troleandomycin (TAO) (not available in the U.S.); and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- if you are taking cyclosporine (Neoral) soft gelatin capsules or solution, take them 4 hours before sirolimus.
- tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John's wort.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high cholesterol or triglycerides or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You should use an effective method of birth control before starting to take sirolimus, while taking sirolimus, and for 12 weeks after stopping sirolimus. If you become pregnant while taking sirolimus, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking sirolimus.
- do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medication.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Sirolimus may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- joint pain
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- swollen, red, cracked, scaly skin
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Sirolimus may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store tablets at room temperature and away from light, excess heat, and moisture (not in the bathroom). Keep liquid medication in the refrigerator, away from light, closed tightly, and dispose of any unused medication one month after the bottle is opened. Do not freeze. If needed, you may store the bottles for up to 15 days at room temperature.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.