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Clin Transplant. 2009 Aug-Sep;23(4):462-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2009.01021.x.

Higher tacrolimus trough levels on days 2-5 post-renal transplant are associated with reduced rates of acute rejection.

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Department of Nephrology and Transplantation, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


We analyzed the association between whole-blood trough tacrolimus (TAC) levels in the first days post-kidney transplant and acute cellular rejection (ACR) rates. Four hundred and sixty-four consecutive, deceased-donor kidney transplant recipients were included. All were treated with a combination of TAC, mycophenolate mofetil and prednisolone. Patients were analyzed in four groups based on quartiles of the mean TAC on days 2 and 5 post-transplant: Group 1: median TAC 11 ng/mL (n = 122, range 2-13.5 ng/mL), Group 2: median 17 ng/mL (n = 123, range 14-20 ng/mL), Group 3: median 24 ng/mL (n = 108, range 20.5-27 ng/mL) and Group 4: median 33.5 ng/mL (n = 116, range 27.5-77.5 ng/mL). A graded reduction in the rates of ACR was observed for each incremental days 2-5 TAC. The one-yr ACR rate was 24.03% (95% CI 17.26-32.88), 22.20% (95% CI 15.78-30.70), 13.41% (95% CI 8.15-21.63) and 8.69% (95% CI 4.77-15.55) for Groups 1-4, respectively (p = 0.003). This study suggests that higher early TACs are associated with reduced rates of ACR at one yr.

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