Beneficial pharmacokinetic interaction between cyclosporine and itraconazole in renal transplant recipients

Transplant Proc. 2003 Dec;35(8):2873-7. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2003.10.058.


Background: Itraconazole is often given for fungal prophylaxis to renal transplant recipients, who require concomitant cyclosporine in the immediate posttransplant period. We determined the extent of the pharmacokinetic interaction between cyclosporine and itraconazole oral solution in renal transplant recipients and the effect on daily drug costs.

Method: This was a single-center, open-label, nonrandomized study. Posttransplantation, renal transplant recipients received itraconazole solution 200 mg twice daily and cyclosporine, dosed to achieve target concentrations. Once at steady state, blood samples were collected over 12 hours for pharmacokinetic evaluation of cyclosporine, itraconazole, and hydroxy-itraconazole. Itraconazole was discontinued after approximately a 3-month prophylaxis regimen. Cyclosporine doses were titrated to achieve target concentrations and cyclosporine concentrations were once again determined when steady state was achieved. A noncompartmental analysis was used to analyze cyclosporine pharmacokinetic parameters. The pharmacoeconomic impact was measured based on the percent change in dose of cyclosporine when administered with and without itraconazole. Drug costs were calculated using the average wholesale price. The cost per patient, as well as the average cost, was calculated for the cyclosporine/itraconazole combination, as well as the cyclosporine regimen alone.

Results: Eight renal transplant recipients completed the study. All were included for itraconazole analyses and seven for cyclosporine analyses. Mean peak and trough itraconazole levels were 1.64 +/- 0.82 and 1.23 +/- 0.90 microg/mL respectively. Mean peak and trough hydroxy-itraconazole levels were 2.37 +/- 1.55 and 2.20 +/- 1.48 microg/mL, respectively. While on itraconazole, a 48% reduction in the mean total daily dose of cyclosporine was necessary to maintain target concentrations (171 +/- 63.6 versus 329 +/- 103.5 mg, P =.003). This reduction in cyclosporine dose resulted in a discounted itraconazole daily drug cost of approximately 29.5%.

Conclusion: Administering itraconazole with cyclosporine allows for a decrease in the cyclosporine dose, thus lowering daily drug costs and providing adequate antifungal coverage with itraconazole and hydroxy-itraconazole trough concentrations above the MIC(90) of Candida and Aspergillus spp.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Itraconazole / pharmacokinetics*
  • Itraconazole / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Mycoses / prevention & control


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Itraconazole
  • Cyclosporine