By: Daniel Trecroci
Kidney transplant patients who suffered high blood sugar when taking the antirejection drug tacrolimus (Prograf) demonstrated improvement when they were switched to the antirejection drug cyclosporin (Neoral).
Prograf and Neoral are both immunosuppressants given to patients receiving pancreas, kidney or liver transplants. According to studies presented recently at the 18th annual American Society of Transplantation (AST) meeting in East Hanover, New Jersey, Neoral was found to be an effective rescue therapy for kidney and liver recipients who are intolerant to Prograf.
Patients receiving kidney transplants were evaluated at seven transplant centers. Of the 96 kidney transplant patients receiving Prograf as their immunossuppressant, 9 patients (9 percent) experienced high blood sugar and were switched to Neoral. Nine other patients also had to discontinue Prograf because of symptoms which included neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, gastrointestinal tolerance and organ rejection.
Following the switch to Neoral, 73 percent of the patients suffering hyperglycemia showed improvement. Neurotoxicity was improved 83 percent and gastrointestinal tolerance was improved by 60 percent.
“The findings from this study demonstrate that Neoral is an effective therapy to rescue recipients who are intolerant of [Prograf] therapy,” says Kenneth Brayman, MD, PhD, director of the pancreas transplant program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and director of the renal transplant program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.