Review of select transplant subpopulations at high risk of failure from standard immunosuppressive therapy

Academic Article


  • Despite improvements in short-term graft and patient survival rates for solid organ transplants, certain subgroups of transplant recipients experience poorer clinical outcome compared to the general population. Groups including pediatrics, African-American, diabetics, cystic fibrosis patients, and pregnant women require special considerations when designing immunosuppressive regimens that optimize transplant outcomes. Problems specific to pediatric transplant recipients include altered pharmacokinetics of immunosuppressive drugs, such as cyclosporine (CsA) and tacrolimus (poor absorption, increased metabolism, rapid clearance), the need to restore growth post-transplantation, and a high incidence of drug-related adverse effects. African-Americans have decreased drug absorption and bioavailability, high immunologic responsiveness, and a high incidence of post-transplant diabetes mellitus. Diabetics and cystic fibrosis patients exhibit poor absorption of immunosuppressive agents, which may lead to underimmunosuppression and subsequent graft rejection. Pregnant women undergo physiologic changes that can alter the pharmacokinetics of immunosuppressives, thus requiring careful clinical management to minimize the risks of either under- or overimmunosuppression to mother and child. To achieve an optimal post-transplant outcome in these high-risk patients, the problems specific to each group must be addressed, and immunosuppressive therapy individualized accordingly. Drug formulation greatly impacts upon pharmacokinetics and the resultant level of immunosuppression. Thus, a formulation with improved absorption (e.g., CsA for microemulsion), higher bioavailability, and less pharmacokinetic variability may facilitate patient management and lead to more favorable outcomes, especially in groups demonstrating low and variable bioavailability. Other strategies aimed at improving transplant outcome include the use of higher immunosuppressive doses, different combinations of immunosuppressive agents, more frequent monitoring, and management of concurrent disease states.
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    Author List

  • Deierhoi MH; Iii MH
  • Start Page

  • 439
  • End Page

  • 448
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 5