Renal allograft immunosuppression. II. A randomized trial of withdrawal of one drug in triple drug immunosuppression

Transpl Int. 1990 Oct;3(3):121-7.


A prospective randomized study was conducted to evaluate the impact of four different conversion protocols on graft outcome in long-term follow-up. Between January 1986 and May 1987, 128 patients with first cadaveric kidney allografts were randomized at the time of transplantation to four treatment groups of 32 patients each, to be assigned 10 weeks post-transplantation. During the first 10 weeks, all patients received triple therapy with low-dose azathioprine (Aza), cyclosporin (CyA), and methylprednisolone (MP). After 10 weeks, one group continued with triple therapy (group A) while the three other groups received different combinations of two drugs, namely, Aza and CyA (group B), Aza and MP (group C), or CyA and MP (group D). Withdrawal of MP (group B) or especially of CyA (group C) was associated with 4/29 (14%) and 10/28 (36%) acute rejection episodes, respectively, for 60 days after conversion. All rejections were mild and reversible. There were no rejections after Aza withdrawal or in the group that continued on triple therapy during the corresponding time period. The most common reason for dropping out after withdrawal, for those patients who could not continue on the originally randomized medication, was azathioprine intolerance (n = 12). Five patients were switched back to triple therapy after CyA withdrawal due to rejection. Steroid intolerance was rare and CyA in low doses was very well tolerated. At 1 year there were no statistically significant differences in graft survival between groups A, B, C, and D--81%, 88%, 88%, and 88%, respectively--or in patient survival--88%, 88%, 88%, and 97%, respectively.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Azathioprine / administration & dosage*
  • Azathioprine / adverse effects
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Cyclosporins / administration & dosage*
  • Cyclosporins / adverse effects
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / drug effects*
  • Graft Survival / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / mortality
  • Kidney Diseases / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods*
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / administration & dosage*
  • Methylprednisolone / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Cyclosporins
  • Creatinine
  • Azathioprine
  • Methylprednisolone