Hypomagnesemia and renal magnesium wasting in renal transplant recipients receiving cyclosporine

Am J Med. 1987 Oct;83(4):693-9. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(87)90900-4.


Following the adoption and use of cyclosporine as the drug of choice in the management of renal allograft recipients, several cases of symptomatic hypomagnesemia were noted. These observations prompted the current prospective study of serum concentration and urinary excretion of magnesium in 27 renal transplant recipients treated with cyclosporine and prednisone. Relevant laboratory measurements were obtained shortly before and regularly after transplantation. The results were compared with those obtained in a group of 17 allograft recipients treated with azathioprine and prednisone. The cyclosporine-treated patients showed a significant reduction in the serum magnesium concentration and an inappropriately increased urinary excretion and fractional excretion of magnesium, suggesting renal magnesium wasting. The observed hypomagnesemia required magnesium supplementation in nearly all cyclosporine-treated patients. In contrast, azathioprine-treated patients showed normal serum magnesium concentrations and required no magnesium supplementation. In conclusion, administration of cyclosporine in renal allograft recipients appears to be commonly associated with renal magnesium wasting and hypomagnesemia. Therefore, it is recommended that serum levels of magnesium be monitored regularly in renal allograft recipients receiving cyclosporine and that magnesium supplementation be employed as needed to avoid magnesium depletion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Cyclosporins / adverse effects*
  • Cyclosporins / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Magnesium Deficiency / chemically induced*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies


  • Cyclosporins
  • Magnesium
  • Azathioprine
  • Prednisone