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What is Prograf?

Prograf is an oral capsule containing a calcineurin inhibitor drug called tacrolimus. We carry both the brand choice and generic alternative of this mediation in 0.5mg, 1mg, and 5mg!


What is Prograf used for?

Prograf is used to prevent organ rejection (following a transplant) caused by the immune system, the body’s natural defense system against infections and diseases. Usually, we want our immune systems to be strong; however, after a transplant (such as kidney, heart, or liver) a strong immune system may cause some issues. It is common for the immune system to find new organs after a transplant to be a foreign threat to the body and because of this; the immune system will attack the new organ in attempt to get rid of it. If the immune system successfully rejects the organ, it will result in either organ failure or organ transplant failure, and the organ will lose its function and symptoms of the previous condition will begin to occur again.


How does Prograf work?

Prograf (tacrolimus) is effective at preventing organ rejection after a transplant because of its ability to temporarily weaken the immune system long enough to allow the body to recognize the organ as one of its own.

Follow only the directions given to you by your doctor. Do not take more or less of a dose than directed. For the full benefit of the medication, ensure you take it regularly and create a routine by taking it around the same time every day. Your dose may be occasionally changed by your doctor to ensure you get the best results.

Take Prograf with or without food every 12 hours or as directed by your doctor. Avoid chewing or breaking the capsule as it should be swallowed whole. If medication usually causes you an upset stomach, take this medication with food. Be aware that the way you take this medication (with or without food) must be done the same way each time.


Do not use Prograf (tacrolimus)

Prograf should not be used by those who are allergic to tacrolimus or hydrogenated castor oil, or if you have used cyclosporine in the past 24 hours.

Dose adjustment or special precautions may be required

Tell your doctor before using this drug if you have ever had kidney or liver disease, heart problems, or long QT syndrome.


This drug may increase your risk of developing serious infections or certain types of cancer including lymphoma or skin cancer. The risk is higher in those who use this drug for longer periods of time. Ask your doctor about the signs you should watch out for.

Some patients who took Prograf after a transplant ended up developing diabetes. This risk is higher in those who are Hispanic or African-American.

Both men and woman taking Prograf should use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. This drug can harm an unborn baby if taken by either of the parents. If you are pregnant, your doctor may request to track the effects of the drug on the unborn baby.

It may not be safe to nurse an infant with breast milk while using this drug. Consult your doctor about the risks if you are breast feeding.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Prograf (tacrolimus) may include:

fever; nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain; weakness, pain; tremors; headache; cough, breathing problems; or high blood sugar, high potassium levels, high cholesterol or triglycerides levels.

The above side effects should not alarm you.

Serious side effects of Prograf (tacrolimus) may include:

general ill feeling, pain or swelling near your transplanted organ; headaches, vision changes, pounding in your neck or ears; confusion, behavior changes; a seizure; fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness (like you might pass out); chest pain, cough, trouble breathing (even while lying down

If you have any of the above side effects, contact your doctor right away.

Please note this is not a complete list of side effects. Not everyone experiences side effects; they are not guaranteed. If you do have side effects and they become unmanageable, consult your doctor about alternate medications.

Contact your doctor if you notice signs of…

high blood sugar: increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, and weight loss;

high potassium: nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, loss of movement;

kidney problems: little or no urinating, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath;

low magnesium: dizziness, fast or irregular heart rate, tremors (shaking) or jerking muscle movements, feeling jittery, muscle cramps, muscle spasms in your hands and feet, cough or choking feeling; or

low blood cell counts: fever, flu symptoms, tiredness, pale skin, cold hands and feet.


What is Tacrolimus?

Tacrolimus is the active ingredient which makes up Prograf, responsible for its therapeutic effects. This medication is considered an immunosuppressive drug and is commonly used together with other drugs. Prograf (tacrolimus) is available as an oral capsule in 3 strengths; 0.5, 1, and 5 mg, accessible only with a valid prescription.


What is Tacrolimus used for?

Tacrolimus is given to patients who have recently undergone an organ transplant, such as a kidney transplant. Sometimes, following a transplant, the body will not recognize the organ and will consider it a foreign object, instructing the immune system to attack the new organ; this can result in damage to organ which can lead to transplant failure (death of the organ). Using tacrolimus can reduce this risk, which is highest during the first week to 3 months following the transplant.


What is Prograf level?

Prograf level is a measurement of how much tacrolimus is detected in your blood. Your doctor will test your Prograf levels throughout the duration of treatment (frequently at first, then periodically for maintenance). It is essential for drug monitoring when taking tacrolimus because the therapeutic range is very narrow; this means if the levels are too low, you may still risk transplant failure; if levels are too high, you may increase the risk of associated toxicity (including damage to the kidneys and nerves). It is important to monitor your Prograf level throughout treatment to ensure the concentration levels stay at a safe (non-toxic) and therapeutically effective level. Higher levels are often ideal immediately after the transplant, commonly around 5.0ng/mL and 15.0ng/mL; for maintenance, Prograf levels should be maintained below 20ng/mL.


What causes Prograf levels to drop?

A variety of drugs can cause Prograf levels to decrease; such as calcium channel blockers, antifungal drugs, macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), protease inhibitors, and more. Your Prograf levels will slowly begin to drop after 2 – 3 hours of administration. For more information on Prograf levels, consult your health care professional.


What causes Prograf levels to increase?

Certain factors such as genetic variability, acute infections, liver dysfunction, and interacting medications (such as calcium channel blockers, antifungal drugs, macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), protease inhibitors, and more) can all cause an elevated concentration of Prograf. For more information on Prograf levels, consult your health care professional.


What is the generic name for Prograf?

The generic name for Prograf is named after the active ingredient; tacrolimus. We carry both the brand and the generic form at My Drug Center for as low as $0.93 per capsule, available with a valid prescription.


Who makes Prograf?

The brand-name medication Prograf is manufactured by Astellas Pharma, a Japanese multinational pharmaceutical company. Prograf was first put on the market in 1994, nearly 30 years ago. Today, Prograf is still available the brand as well as a generic, made by many different generic manufacturing companies around the world.


How much does Prograf cost?

In the United States, the brand-name medication is commonly very expensive. You may find the generic alternative for slightly cheaper, however, even the generic can be considered pricey for some. The average retail price for 90 generic (tacrolimus) capsules (0.5mg) is more than double the cost for the same supply at My Drug Center; we carry tacrolimus capsules for as little as $89.00 for a supply of 90 (0.5mg) capsules. All you need is a valid prescription to order.

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