Optimal dose and target trough level in cyclosporine and tacrolimus conversion in renal transplantation as evaluated by lymphocyte drug sensitivity and pharmacokinetic parameters

Transplant Proc. 2005 May;37(4):1745-7. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2005.02.075.


We evaluated the relative clinical potency of cyclosporine (CyA) and tacrolimus (Tac) using pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic parameters of the drug to obtain the most suitable converting dose and target trough level. The relative pharmacodynamic potency was examined by the mean ratio of drug concentrations giving 50% inhibition of blastogenesis of lymphocytes (IC50) in 66 chronic renal failure patients. The relative potency estimated from clinical pharmacokinetic parameters was examined by the mean ratio of each pharmacokinetic parameter value of CyA versus Tac. The pharmacokinetic parameters were estimated by 12-hour monitoring of drug blood concentrations in seven CyA patients and seven Tac patients. The mean IC50 ratio of CyA and Tac (CyA/Tac of IC50) was 25.1. The mean area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) ratio (CyA/Tac of AUC) was 25.5, the mean trough level (C(min)) ratio (CyA/Tac of C(min)) was 13.2, and the mean dose per body weight ratio was 25.2. The relative potency estimated from AUC that is the most reliable pharmacokinetic parameter for the estimation of clinical efficacy of calcineurin inhibitors appeared to agree with the relative pharmacodynamic potency estimated from IC50. The data suggest that TAC 25-fold more potent than CyA, which represents a suitable converting dose ratio, and that target trough level of CyA is about 13-fold greater than Tac based on CyA/Tac of C(min). We conclude that these relative values may be useful to estimate the suitable dose and target trough levels to convert between CyA and Tac.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Area Under Curve
  • Cyclosporine / blood
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / blood
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Tacrolimus / blood
  • Tacrolimus / pharmacokinetics*
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Tacrolimus