Variable oral absorption of cyclosporine. A biopharmaceutical risk factor for chronic renal allograft rejection

Transplantation. 1996 Sep 15;62(5):599-606. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199609150-00010.


The inter- and intrapatient variability in cyclosporine (CsA) pharmacokinetics obfuscates the relationship between therapeutic outcome and administered dose, thereby impeding the development of secure algorithms for CsA therapy. In an attempt to understand these variabilities, we previously performed serial pharmacokinetic profiles on 160 renal transplant recipients during the first 3 posttransplant months. Drug exposure was estimated by the average CsA concentration (Cav), which was defined as a time-corrected (tau, hours) expression of the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC), i.e., Cav = (AUC/tau). Low Cav values correlated with an increased occurrence of acute rejection episodes and 1-year rate of renal transplant loss. The present study examines the results of serial pharmacokinetic profiling of a cohort of 204 patients treated for up to 5 years with CsA doses selected to achieve target Cav values. Multivariate analyses correlated demographic factors, laboratory values, clinical parameters, and CsA pharmacokinetic parameters with the occurrence of chronic rejection. The factors that predisposed to chronic rejection included a previous acute rejection episode, initial acute tubular necrosis, diastolic blood pressure above 85 mmHg, and African-American race. Once regression models were adjusted to account for the impact of these factors, we examined the association between the incidence of chronic rejection and individual pharmacokinetic parameters, including the mean values of the absolute and dose-corrected trough, peak, and Cav concentrations, as well as the percent coefficient of variation of each of these values. Receiver operating characteristic curves documented that 27% of the total risk for the occurrence of chronic rejection was attributable to a greater than 20% coefficient of variation of the dose-corrected Cav, namely, AUC/( This study suggests that variable oral bioavailability of CsA represents a biopharmaceutical risk factor for the occurrence of chronic rejection.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / drug therapy*
  • Graft Rejection / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Individuality
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Prednisone