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Transpl Int. 2005 Apr;18(4):379-84.

Assessing the relative risk of cardiovascular disease among renal transplant patients receiving tacrolimus or cyclosporine.

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University of Glasgow, Gardiner Institute, Western Infirmary, UK.


Calcineurin inhibitors potentially contribute to risk of cardiovascular events through the development of new-onset diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. The exact extent to which calcineurin inhibitors affect these risk factors is difficult to establish since pre-existing renal disease and concomitant immunosuppressive agents (such as steroids or TOR inhibitors) also exert an effect. Clinical trials have consistently shown a higher incidence of new-onset diabetes mellitus with tacrolimus, which has been borne out in large-scale registry analyses. However, the risk of hypertension is approximately 5% higher with cyclosporine than tacrolimus, as is the risk of hyperlipidemia. Statin therapy is effective in treating dyslipidemia and has significant benefits in renal transplant patients. An individualized approach to choice of calcineurin inhibitor, by which cyclosporine or tacrolimus are selected based on the patient's particular risk profile, may thus help to reduce the toll of cardiovascular mortality among renal transplant recipients in the future.

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