Immunosuppression: evolution in practice and trends, 1993-2003

Am J Transplant. 2005 Apr;5(4 Pt 2):874-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6135.2005.00833.x.


Immunosuppression trends for solid organ transplantation have undergone a perceptible shift over the past decade. This period is of interest because it was during this time that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the variety of medications to allow for alternatives in immunosuppressive management. An organ-by-organ review of SRTR data identifies several important trends. Antibody induction continues to be used for the majority of kidney (70%), simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK, 79%) pancreas after kidney (PAK, 74%), and intestine recipients (74%). It is used for under half of thoracic organ recipients and remains uncommon for liver transplant recipients (20%). The type of antibody preparation utilized has shifted from muromonab-CD3 and horse ATG to rabbit ATG and monoclonal anti-IL-2 receptor antagonists. Calcineurin inhibitors continue to be used for maintenance immunosuppression for most recipients, although there has been a shift from cyclosporine to tacrolimus. A clear transition is apparent in the choice of antimetabolite from azathioprine to mycophenolate mofetil. Although corticosteroids continue to be used as maintenance immunosuppression for most recipients prior to discharge, there is evidence that efforts of steroid avoidance protocols are having an impact across all organs, as slight decreases in their use have been observed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression / statistics & numerical data
  • Immunosuppression / trends*
  • Transplantation