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Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2019 Jan-Feb;30(1):129-137.

Tacrolimus as the first-line agent in adult-onset minimal change disease: A randomized controlled study.

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Department of Nephrology, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubli, Karnataka, India.
Department of Nephrology, Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research and Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
P. D. Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.


Steroids have been the cornerstone of first-line therapy in adult-onset minimal change disease (MCD). The period of exposure to high dose steroids may be longer in adult MCD patients and would result in higher rates of steroid-related side effects. Although tacrolimus (TAC) is known to be effective in steroid-dependent/resistant MCD as well as in nephrotic syndrome due to other causes, there are minimal data available for assessing the effectiveness of TAC as the first-line agent in adult MCD. This is a prospective, open-label, randomized controlled study conducted from April 2014 to March 2016. Patients were randomized into two groups A and B which received TAC for 12 months and oral steroids for six months, respectively. Primary outcomes were remission rates, drug resistance was measured at 6, 12,and 18 months in each group and secondary outcomes were relapse rates, sustained remission rates, dependency, and adverse effects were measured at 18 months in both groups. At six months, total response (TR, i.e., complete and partial remission) was achieved in 80% in the TAC group and 78.26% in the steroid group (P = 1.000). At 12 months, TR was 60% in the TAC group and 43.48% in the steroid group (P = 0.386). At 18 months, TR rate was 44% in the TAC group and 43.48% in the steroid group (P = 1.000). About 32% in the TAC group and 39.13% in steroid group had relapsed by 18 months. Serious adverse effects were similar in the two groups, but overall adverse effects were more in the steroid group. TAC as a primary agent is not inferior to steroids in inducing remission. TAC may be considered as an alternative agent to steroid in high-risk groups such as elderly patients, uncontrolled diabetes and young females as a primary agent in the management of adult MCD.


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