Safety and Feasibility of Outpatient Rabbit Antithymocyte Globulin Induction Therapy Administration in Kidney Transplant Recipients

Pharmacotherapy. 2018 Jun;38(6):620-627. doi: 10.1002/phar.2116.


Background: Kidney transplant induction therapy often includes inpatient administration of rabbit antithymocyte globulin (rATG) over multiple days. To reduce hospital length of stay (LOS) and drug expenditures, the rATG induction course was completed in the outpatient setting via peripheral intravenous administration. The present study assesses early readmission trends ascribable to an outpatient rATG administration protocol to ensure initial reduction in hospital LOS is sustained early after discharge.

Methods: This was a retrospective study of kidney recipient outcomes for patients transplanted between January 1, 2008, and February 29, 2016, immediately following implementation of an outpatient rATG protocol. Readmission data within 7 days of outpatient rATG administration were collected. The relatedness of rATG administration to an adverse drug reaction resulting in readmission was determined by the World Health Organization-Uppsala Monitoring Centre Causality Assessment Scale and the Naranjo Adverse Drug Reaction Probability Scale.

Results: A total of 1104 patients received outpatient doses of rATG and were included. An upward trend in kidney transplant volume and outpatient rATG administrations per year was found from 2008-2015. Following protocol implementation, the percentage of overall readmissions ranged from 9% to just over 12% from 2008-2014 and remained less than 10% for 2014 through 2016. The percentage of outpatient rATG infusions that potentially led to rATG-related readmissions was less than 4% per year over the study period. A total of 1124 hospital days were saved, 125 days per year on average.

Conclusions: Outpatient administration of rATG is feasible, safe, and did not increase readmissions in the period directly following administration. The findings of this analysis support our continued use of the outpatient rATG protocol at our institution.

Keywords: drug safety; hospital readmissions; outpatient administration; patient safety; rabbit antithymocyte globulin; renal; transplant.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antilymphocyte Serum / adverse effects*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Length of Stay
  • Outpatients
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Rabbits
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antilymphocyte Serum
  • Immunosuppressive Agents