Clin Transplant. 2023 Oct 28:e15172. doi: 10.1111/ctr.15172. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Our study hypothesis was that once daily dosing of extended-release tacrolimus (XRT) would be a safe and effective immunosuppression (IS) with the potential to decrease adverse events (AEs) associated with immediate release tacrolimus (IRT) after liver transplantation (LT).
METHODS: All patients receiving LT at our center received rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin (RATG) induction therapy. Eligible patients were randomized in a 1:1 fashion to receive either XRT or IRT. Antimicrobial prophylaxis was the same between arms, and both groups received an antimetabolite for the first 6 months following LT. Patients were then followed at pre-determined study intervals for the following year after LT. We administered the RAND-36SF survey to assess patient’s health-related quality of life at pre-determined intervals. All analysis was performed with an intention to treat basis.
RESULTS: We screened 194 consecutive patients and enrolled 110. Our control and study arms were well matched. Transplant characteristics were similar between groups. At all timepoints, both arms had similar serum creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), calculated by MDRD6 equation, with post-transplant GFRs between 60 and 70 mL/min/1.73 m2 . Tacrolimus trough levels were similar between arms. The XRT arm had fewer AEs (166) and fewer serious AEs (70) compared to IRT (201 and 99, respectively). AEs most commonly were renal, infectious, or gastrointestinal in nature. While not statistically significant, XRT was held temporarily (25 vs. 35 cases) or discontinued (3 vs. 11 cases) less frequently than IRT and had fewer instances of rejection (7 vs. 12 cases).
CONCLUSION: This analysis showed that XRT is safe and effective as de novo maintenance IS in a steroid-free protocol with RATG.