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Transplantation. 2003 Sep 27;76(6):938-42.

Withdrawal of steroid therapy in African American kidney transplant recipients receiving sirolimus and tacrolimus.

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Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, and the Transplantation Service, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.



Withdrawal of corticosteroids from the immunosuppressive regimens of kidney transplant recipients has been associated with an increased risk of acute and chronic allograft rejection. Previous studies indicate that the risk of rejection is particularly high in African Americans.


We prospectively enrolled 44 African American kidney transplant recipients to participate in an uncontrolled trial in which they were initially treated with sirolimus, tacrolimus, and corticosteroids. No patient received antibody induction therapy. Prednisone was withdrawn from eligible patients free of acute rejection beginning as early as 3 months posttransplant, and followed for a minimum of 9 months posttransplant. Patients were followed for acute rejection and for changes in blood pressure, body weight, and serum creatinine concentrations before and after withdrawal of steroids.


Thirty of 44 patients (68%) were weaned off of prednisone. Follow-up after withdrawal of prednisone ranged from 3 to 26 months (mean, 14.3+/-7.7 months). Two of 30 patients (6.7%) developed acute rejection. At last follow-up, 27 of 30 patients (90%) remain steroid-free. Steroid withdrawal was associated with significant reductions in blood pressure.


Use of sirolimus and tacrolimus, without the use of induction antibody therapy, allows withdrawal of prednisone as early as 3 months posttransplant with low rates of subsequent acute rejection in African American kidney transplant recipients. Withdrawal of prednisone was associated with lower blood pressures and the need for fewer antihypertensive medications.

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