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AAPS J. 2004 Oct 15;6(4):e28.

Exposure-response relationships and drug interactions of sirolimus.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Wyeth Research, 500 Arcola Road, Collegeville, PA, USA.


Sirolimus (rapamycin, RAPAMUNE, RAPA) is an immunosuppressive agent used for the prophylaxis of renal allograft rejection and exhibits an immunosuppressive mechanism that is distinct from that for cyclosporine and tacrolimus. The purpose of this manuscript is to discuss the exposure-response relationships and drug interactions of sirolimus. The various factors affecting sirolimus whole blood exposure included first-pass extraction, formulation, food, demographics, liver disease, assay method, and interacting drugs. Clinically significant effects caused by food, pediatric age, hepatic impairment, and interacting drugs require recommendations for the safe and efficacious use of sirolimus in renal allograft patients. An exposure-response model based on multivariate logistic regression was developed using the interstudy data from 1832 renal allograft patients. The analysis revealed an increased probability of acute rejection for sirolimus troughs <5 ng/mL, cyclosporine troughs <150 ng/mL, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) mismatches > or =4, and females. The outcomes suggested that individualization of sirolimus doses immediately after transplantation, based on HLA mismatch and sex, would likely decrease the probability of acute rejections in renal allograft recipients who receive concomitant sirolimus, cyclosporine (full-dose), and corticosteroid therapy. Sirolimus is a substrate for both Cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) and P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and undergoes extensive first-pass extraction. Drugs that are known to inhibit or induce these proteins may potentially affect sirolimus whole blood exposure. In healthy volunteers, cyclosporine, diltiazem, erythromycin, ketoconazole, and verapamil significantly increased sirolimus whole blood exposure, and rifampin significantly decreased sirolimus exposure. However, sirolimus whole blood exposure was not affected by acyclovir, atorvastatin, digoxin, ethinyl estradiol/norgestrel, glyburide, nifedipine, or tacrolimus. Among the 15 drugs studied, sirolimus significantly increased the exposures of only erythromycin and S-(-)verapamil.

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