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Liver Transpl. 2001 Jun;7(6):533-9.

Beneficial effects of converting liver transplant recipients from cyclosporine to tacrolimus on blood pressure, serum lipids, and weight.

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Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, Cambridge, England.


Hypertension and hyperlipidemia are more prevalent after liver transplantation with cyclosporine as the primary immunosuppressive agent compared with tacrolimus. To determine whether blood pressure, serum lipid level, or weight improves when patients switch immunosuppression therapy, we retrospectively studied 26 liver transplant recipients with stable graft function who had been converted from cyclosporine to tacrolimus therapy with a median follow-up of 8 months. One of the 26 patients developed pruritus necessitating withdrawal of tacrolimus. The results therefore concern the remaining 25 patients. With the exception of a small decrease in bilirubin level (P <.05), there was no difference in graft or renal function after conversion. Mean systolic blood pressure decreased from 158 +/- 25 to 148 +/- 22 mm Hg over a mean of 8 +/- 3 months after conversion to tacrolimus (P =.015), whereas mean serum cholesterol level decreased from 5.3 +/- 0.9 to 4.9 +/- 0.9 mmol/L (P =.01). Sixty-eight percent of the patients lost weight, from a mean of 79.4 +/- 22.6 to 76.1 +/- 20.1 kg, in the 11 months after switching to tacrolimus therapy (P =.024). Serum triglyceride and blood glucose levels did not change, and no patient developed diabetes mellitus after conversion. These results indicate that switching from cyclosporine to tacrolimus can reduce blood pressure, serum cholesterol level, and weight after liver transplantation.

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