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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2002 May;13(5):1365-73.

Withdrawal of cyclosporine or prednisone six months after kidney transplantation in patients on triple drug therapy: a randomized, prospective, multicenter study.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.


Uncertainty exists regarding the necessity of continuing triple therapy consisting of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), cyclosporine (CsA), and prednisone (Pred) after kidney transplantation (RTx). At 6 mo after RTx, 212 patients were randomized to stop CsA (n = 63), stop Pred (n = 76), or continue triple drug therapy (n = 73). The MMF dose was 1000 mg twice daily, target CsA trough levels were 150 ng/ml, and Pred dose was 0.10 mg/kg per d. Follow-up was until 24 mo after RTx. Biopsy-proven acute rejection occurred in 14 (22%) of 63 patients after CsA withdrawal compared with 3 (4%) of 76 in the Pred withdrawal group (P = 0.001) and 1 (1.4%) of 73 in the control group (P = 0.0001). Biopsy-proven chronic rejection was present in one patient in the control group, in nine patients after CsA withdrawal (P = 0.006 versus control group); and in four patients after discontinuation of Pred (NS). Graft loss occurred in two versus one patient after CsA or Pred withdrawal, respectively, and in two patients in the control group (NS). Patients who successfully withdrew CsA had a significantly lower serum creatinine during follow-up. Pred withdrawal resulted in a reduction in mean arterial pressure, and the total cholesterol/HDL ratio increased. In conclusion, rapid CsA withdrawal at 6 mo after RTx results in a significantly increased incidence of biopsy-proven acute and chronic rejection. Pred withdrawal was safe and resulted in a reduction in mean arterial pressure. However, patient and graft survival and renal function 2 yr after RTx were not different among groups.

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