Health-related quality of life and symptom experience in tacrolimus-based regimens after renal transplantation: a multicentre study

Transpl Int. 2003 Sep;16(9):653-64. doi: 10.1007/s00147-003-0595-1. Epub 2003 May 14.


Tacrolimus is increasingly used as a baseline immunosuppressant after renal transplantation. This multicentre study assessed health-related quality of life and symptom experience in renal transplant patients on tacrolimus-based therapy, using the SF-36 and Euroqol 5 dimensions (EQ-5D) and the 'modified transplant symptom occurrence and symptom distress scale', respectively. Symptoms of depression were assessed with the short form of the Beck Depression Inventory and physical activity with the Baecke questionnaire. Overall, 350 patients with a median post-transplant status of 16.7 months were enrolled. Results revealed that patients experienced lower SF-36 scores than the general population, except in terms of bodily pain. Univariate and multivariate analyses demonstrated that a higher degree of depressive symptoms and female gender were consistently related to a health status perceived as being worse and a higher rate of symptom experience. These findings are in accordance with previous quality-of-life reports that assessed patients under various immunosuppressive therapies. Therefore, interventions, including the screening and treatment for depression and the addressing of gender-specific issues, can enhance quality of life.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Azathioprine / adverse effects
  • Depression / etiology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Kidney Transplantation* / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Period
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Steroids / adverse effects
  • Tacrolimus / adverse effects*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Steroids
  • Azathioprine
  • Tacrolimus