This study examines the importance of early mycophenolic acid (MPA) exposure in the cyclosporine- and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF)-treated kidney transplant population. We prospectively evaluated 94 first solitary kidney transplant patients treated with cyclosporine (Neoral), MMF, and prednisone. Basiliximab was also given to 72 recipients. MPA exposure was measured by HPLC using a limited sampling estimate of 12 h area under the curve (AUC [0-12]) within the first week. Efficacy was determined by the occurrence of acute rejection and toxicity by the need to reduce MMF doses within the first 3 months post-transplantation. Acute rejection was observed in 14 (15%) and MMF toxicity in 27 (29%). Receiver operator curve analysis shows that MPA AUC [0-12] on day 3 was predictive of efficacy (c = 0.72, p = 0.007) but not toxicity (c = 0.57, p = 0.285). A separate analysis of only patients on basiliximab shows that the MPA AUC [0-12] on day 3 was also predictive of efficacy (c = 0.80, p = 0.01). Therefore early adequate exposure to MPA by day 3 is associated with low acute rejection but cannot predict toxicity. Adequate MPA exposure is also important with basiliximab induction therapy.