Prograf

Generic Name: Tacrolimus

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Prograf is a medicine used in combination with other medicines to help prevent organ rejection in people who have had a kidney, liver, or heart transplant. Prograf is available as capsules and an intravenous injection (injected into the vein). Prograf intravenous injection is for hospital use only.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Your immune system is your body's defense against things that can cause infection and disease. Unfortunately, it cannot tell the difference between a harmful virus or bacteria and your new organ, so its natural response is to reject it. Prograf works by stopping your immune system from rejecting your new organ.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Prograf has been shown to extend survival in people receiving a transplant.

    When: Though you may not feel a change in the way you feel, it is very important to keep taking your medicine as prescribed to prevent your body from rejecting your new organ.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly to check the amount of Prograf in your body and may ask you questions from time to time to assess how well this medication is working.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Prograf can increase your risk of developing lymphoma (a type of cancer involving cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes) and other types of cancers (including skin cancer).

    Prograf can increase your risk of developing infections. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you have symptoms of an infection such as a fever; sweats or chills; cough or flu-like symptoms; muscle aches; or warm, red, or painful areas on your skin.

    Kidney Transplant

    More common side effects may include: infection; shaking; high blood pressure; kidney problems; constipation; diarrhea; headache; abdominal (stomach area) pain; trouble sleeping; nausea; low blood magnesium or phosphate levels; swelling of your hands, ankles, or legs; weakness; pain; high fat levels in your blood; high blood potassium levels; anemia (low red blood cell counts).

    Liver Transplant

    More common side effects may include: shaking, headache, diarrhea, high blood pressure, nausea, kidney problems, abdominal pain, trouble sleeping, tingling or numbness in your hands or feet, anemia, pain, fever, weakness, high blood potassium levels, low blood magnesium levels.

    Heart Transplant

    More common side effects may include: kidney problems, high blood pressure, infection, shaking, low white blood cell counts, bronchitis (inflammation of the air passages within the lungs), high fat levels in your blood.

    Less common side effects of Prograf may include:

    High blood sugar or diabetes, with symptoms such as frequent urination, increased thirst or hunger, blurred vision, confusion, drowsiness, loss of appetite, fruity smelling breath, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.

    Nervous system problems, with symptoms such as confusion, muscle tremors, numbness and tingling, headache, seizures, or visions changes.

    Heart problems, with symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, or fainting.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Prograf if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Prograf. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have liver, kidney, or heart problems; plan to receive any live vaccines; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Heart, Kidney, and Liver Transplant

    Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your weight.

    Liver Transplant

    Children: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his or her weight.

    If you have kidney or liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Prograf exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Prograf without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Prograf with or without food. Take it the same way and at the same time every day.

    Taking Prograf at the same time each day helps to keep enough medicine in your body to give your transplanted organ the around-the-clock medicine it needs.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking Prograf.

    Do not receive any live vaccines (such as flu vaccine through your nose, or measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tuberculosis, yellow fever, chicken pox, or typhoid vaccines) while taking Prograf.

    Do not expose yourself to sunlight and ultraviolet light, such as tanning machines. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Prograf is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Prograf may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Prograf during pregnancy are unknown. Prograf can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Prograf. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    Prograf should be taken under special circumstances determined by your healthcare provider. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist for advice.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

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I'm Kristen Dore, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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