FK506 in solid organ transplantation

Ther Drug Monit. 1995 Dec;17(6):592-5. doi: 10.1097/00007691-199512000-00008.


FK506 (Prograf) is a new immunosuppressive agent, recently approved for use in solid organ transplants. The first use of FK506 was for the indication of refractory liver allograft rejection. This revealed a marked ability to reverse ongoing rejection, even in cases where chronic changes were observed. Between 50 and 70% of patients converted to FK506 had shown improvement. In long-term follow-up of patients with chronic rejection, 75% of patients were still alive at 3 years following FK506 conversion, and 65% of liver allografts were still functioning. FK506 has been compared to cyclosporine in primary liver transplantation. In the three randomized trials, freedom from rejection was statistically greater in the FK506-treated group, as compared to the cyclosporine-treated group. By intent-to-treat analysis, the patient and graft survival in the FK506 group was the same or better than the cyclosporine group. The good results in the cyclosporine limb was due, in part, to the ability of FK506 to treat rejection in the cyclosporine group. Freedom from steroid use, and the lower incidence of hypertension, were prominent features of FK506 patients. FK506 has been used for rescue of rejecting kidney allografts, with results similar to the liver transplant trials. When used as primary immunosuppression, FK506 was shown to be effective, as measured by graft survival. FK506-based immunosuppression has also been used in primary heart transplantation, as well as for primary adult pulmonary transplantation. Results from these small series of patients are equally encouraging. The results of these studies suggest that FK506 is effective for solid organ transplantation. Both FK506 and cyclosporine administration have been associated with side effects, many of which are similar, and some of which are peculiar to a given organ transplant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents*
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Tacrolimus*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Tacrolimus