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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2001 Feb;12(2):368-73.

Cardiovascular risk factors in renal transplant patients: cyclosporin A versus tacrolimus.

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Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, University Medical Center, Room F03.226, Post Box 85500, 3508 GA, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The hypertensive and hyperlipidemic effects of cyclosporin A (CsA) may contribute to the high cardiovascular morbidity in renal transplant patients and to the development of chronic transplant nephropathy. Tacrolimus is reported to have less effect on BP and lipids, but steroids, other drugs, and renal function may confound this. This study assessed 24-h BP and lipid profile in stable renal transplant recipients (n = 17) while they were receiving CsA, after 4 wk of receiving tacrolimus, and again after 4 wk of receiving CsA. Antihypertensives were stopped at least 3 wk before. A few patients used low-dose steroids and lipid-lowering drugs, which were not changed during the study. Mean daytime BP decreased from 149 +/- 12 and 95 +/- 8 mmHg to 138 +/- 13 and 87 +/- 9 mmHg (P: < 0.001) after patients were switched to tacrolimus. Mean nighttime BP also decreased, from 140 +/- 12/86 +/- 7 mmHg to 132 +/- 17/79 +/- 10 mmHg (P: < 0.05). Total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased from 6.1 +/- 0.7 and 3.84 +/- 0.79 mmol/L to 5.1 +/- 0.8 and 2.98 +/- 0.75 mmol/L (P: < 0.001). Return to CsA caused an increase in BP and cholesterol to values similar as during the first CsA period. The conclusion is that tacrolimus has fewer unfavorable effects on BP and lipids than does CsA. Elective conversion from CsA to tacrolimus in stable renal transplant recipients may lead to attenuation of cardiovascular morbidity and chronic transplant nephropathy in the long term.

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