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What is Everolimus?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Everolimus is a medication with a suppressive effect on the immune system. This medication is used in the management of transplant patients to prevent organ rejection, and can also be prescribed to people with certain types of kidney cancer. It may be used for off-label purposes beyond these approved uses. In all cases, a prescription is required to use this medication, as it can be dangerous, and a thorough medical evaluation of the patient is needed before drug therapy can begin.

This drug works by suppressing the activation of enzymes involved in immune processes. In the case of transplant rejection, there is a concern that the patient's body could identify the donor organ as foreign and dangerous and start attacking it. Consequently, anti-rejection drugs are prescribed. These drugs need to be taken for life and the drug therapy can become quite costly over time, although some pharmaceutical companies offer compassionate use programs and other options for helping patients afford transplant medications, with the goal of preventing situations where patients take the drugs erratically or stop taking them altogether.

In kidney cancers, everolimus appears to extend life for certain types of cells, while making it harder for others to survive, thereby helping in cancer treatment. The drug is taken orally in the form of tablets, with a dosage determined on the basis of the cancer, the overall therapy plan, and the patient's weight. These tablets must be stored in a cool, dry place out of reach of children and pets for safety.

The most common everolimus side effects include dry skin, fatigue, and headache. The immunosuppressive effects of this medication are a cause for concern, as there is a possibility that patients on this medication could develop serious infections. At the first sign of infection, patients should seek medical attention, as their bodies are less able to fight infection and it is possible for serious complications, including death, to occur. Rapid and aggressive treatment of the infection will increase the patient's chances of survival.

Before taking everolimus, patients should make sure their doctors have thoroughly reviewed their medical histories, taking special note of any history of allergies. This medication can cause adverse reactions in patients with certain types of allergies. It is also important to be aware that care is advised when receiving vaccines while on this medication, and patients should never receive live vaccines while on everolimus. A doctor can provide information about when it is safe to take live vaccines again after the cessation of treatment.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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