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Prograf is used for the prevention of rejection of transplanted organs.
Oral Prograf is taken twice daily. Doses vary widely and are based on blood tests that measure the amount of Prograf in the body. Taking Prograf with food can reduce some of the abdominal pain that can occur with this medicine; however, food can reduce the amount of Prograf that is absorbed. This is especially true with fatty foods. Thus, Prograf is best taken without food. If it must be taken with food, it should be taken with non-fatty food.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Prograf is a drug that suppresses the immune system and is used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs. Prograf accomplishes its immune-suppressing effecting by inhibiting an enzyme (calcineurin) crucial for the multiplication of T-cells, cells that are vital to the immune process. The use of oral Prograf allows transplantation specialists to reduce the dose of steroids which are also used to prevent rejection. This "steroid-sparing effect" is important because of the many side effects that can occur when larger doses of steroids are used for a long period of time. Prograf was approved by the FDA in April, 1994 for liver transplantation and also has been used in patients for heart, kidney, small bowel, and bone marrow transplantation.
Take this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as remembered; do not take it if it is near the time for the next dose, instead, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose to catch up.
Store this medication at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 to 30 degrees C) away from heat and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.
Possible Side Effects
Prograf is associated with many and various side effects. These include baldness (which can occur in 1 in 5 patients who take it), anemia (1 in 2), loss of appetite (1 in 3), diarrhea (3 of 4), high concentrations of potassium in the blood (1 in 2), high blood pressure (1 in 2), nausea (1 in 2), vomiting (1 in 4), tingling sensation in the extremities (2 in 5), itching (1 in 3), tremor (1 in 2), fever (1 in 2), headache (2 in 3), rash (1 in 4), high blood sugar concentrations (between 1 in 3 and 1 in 2), and abdominal pain (1in 4). Other side effects may include confusion, painful joints, increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, insomnia, infection, jaundice (yellowing of the skin due to effects on the liver), kidney injury, swollen ankles, and seizures.
Laboratory tests will be done frequently while taking this medication to monitor the effects and prevent side effects.