Patients taking cyclosporine, the wonder drug now being used for everything from transplants to psoriasis, are at risk of developing kidney damage, particularly at high doses.
The Institute of Pathology in Basle, Switzerland, found that 41 patients of the 192 examined had cyclosporine induced irreversible kidney damage. The patients had been receiving the drug for insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, psoriasis, Sjogren's Syndrome, among others.
The patients who had been damaged had received larger doses (at least 6.5 mg per kilogram of body weight per day) and were older, than those who hadn't.
The study concluded that the risk of developing kidney disease can be minimized if patients avoid doses higher than 5 mg per kilogram of body weight.
It should be noted that one of the authors of the study was Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, which manufacturers and sells cyclosporine and has been responsible for its widening use. Originally developed to stop a host from rejecting an organ transplant, the drug is now being used for all manner of autoimmune illness.