A randomized, prospective, pharmacoeconomic trial of tacrolimus versus cyclosporine in combination with thymoglobulin in renal transplant recipients

Transplantation. 2005 Jul 15;80(1):41-6. doi: 10.1097/01.tp.0000162980.68628.5a.


Background: To date, the clinical trials of tacrolimus (TAC) versus cyclosporine modified (CsA), have not defined which agent is more cost-effective for immunosuppression in renal transplant recipients especially in a quadruple immunosuppressive regimen.

Methods: The objective of this randomized, prospective study was to compare the clinical and economic outcomes of TAC versus CsA, in a regimen that consisted of Thymoglobulin induction, an antimetabolite, and prednisone. Between December 2000 and October 2002, 200 patients were enrolled and randomized in a 2:1 fashion (TAC n=134, CsA n=66).

Results: At 1 year, acute rejection (4% TAC vs. 6% CsA), patient survival (TAC 99% vs. CsA 100%), and graft survival (95% TAC versus 100% CsA, P=0.059) were similar. Serum creatinine levels were lower in the TAC group compared with the CsA group (1.3+/-0.3 vs. 1.6+/-0.7 mg/dL, P=0.03). The incidence of CMV infection was similar between the groups and two patients, both in the TAC arm, developed malignancy. Anti-hypertensive requirement (32% TAC vs. 32% CsA) and the incidence of posttransplant diabetes mellitus (4% TAC vs. 2% CsA) were similar. Pretransplant, fewer TAC patients received dyslipidemia treatment (40% TAC vs. 67% CsA, P=0.0005), while more CsA patients were able to discontinue these medications posttransplant (absolute change 25% TAC vs. 47% CsA). Total 12-month medication costs were similar (17,723 +/- 11,647 dollars TAC vs. 16,515 +/- 10,189 dollars CsA).

Conclusions: When combined with Thymoglobulin induction, an antimetabolite, and corticosteroids, TAC and CsA are comparable in safety, efficacy, and cost in renal transplantation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antilymphocyte Serum / economics
  • Antilymphocyte Serum / therapeutic use*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Cyclosporine / economics
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / epidemiology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / economics
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Missouri
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tacrolimus / economics
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use*


  • Antilymphocyte Serum
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Tacrolimus