Prograf (Page 5 of 12)


Prograf can cause nephrotoxicity, particularly when used in high doses. Nephrotoxicity was reported in approximately 52% of kidney transplantation patients and in 40% and 36% of liver transplantation patients receiving Prograf in the U.S. and European randomized trials, respectively, and in 59% of heart transplantation patients in a European randomized trial (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Use of Prograf with sirolimus in heart transplantation patients in a US study was associated with increased risk of renal function impairment, and is not recommended (See CLINICAL STUDIES). More overt nephrotoxicity is seen early after transplantation, characterized by increasing serum creatinine and a decrease in urine output. Patients with impaired renal function should be monitored closely as the dosage of Prograf may need to be reduced. In patients with persistent elevations of serum creatinine who are unresponsive to dosage adjustments, consideration should be given to changing to another immunosuppressive therapy. Care should be taken in using tacrolimus with other nephrotoxic drugs. In particular, to avoid excess nephrotoxicity, Prograf should not be used simultaneously with cyclosporine. Prograf or cyclosporine should be discontinued at least 24 hours prior to initiating the other. In the presence of elevated Prograf or cyclosporine concentrations, dosing with the other drug usually should be further delayed.


Mild to severe hyperkalemia was reported in 31% of kidney transplant recipients and in 45% and 13% of liver transplant recipients treated with Prograf in the U.S. and European randomized trials, respectively, and in 8% of heart transplant recipients in a European randomized trial and may require treatment (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Serum potassium levels should be monitored and potassium-sparing diuretics should not be used during Prograf therapy (see PRECAUTIONS).


Prograf can cause neurotoxicity, particularly when used in high doses. Neurotoxicity, including tremor, headache, and other changes in motor function, mental status, and sensory function were reported in approximately 55% of liver transplant recipients in the two randomized studies. Tremor occurred more often in Prograf-treated kidney transplant patients (54%) and heart transplant patients (15%) compared to cyclosporine-treated patients. The incidence of other neurological events in kidney transplant and heart transplant patients was similar in the two treatment groups (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Tremor and headache have been associated with high whole-blood concentrations of tacrolimus and may respond to dosage adjustment. Seizures have occurred in adult and pediatric patients receiving Prograf (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Coma and delirium also have been associated with high plasma concentrations of tacrolimus.

Patients treated with tacrolimus have been reported to develop posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES). Symptoms indicating PRES include headache, altered mental status, seizures, visual disturbances and hypertension. Diagnosis may be confirmed by radiological procedure. If PRES is suspected or diagnosed, blood pressure control should be maintained and immediate reduction of immunosuppression is advised. This syndrome is characterized by reversal of symptoms upon reduction or discontinuation of immunosuppression.

Malignancy and Lymphoproliferative Disorders

As in patients receiving other immunosuppressants, patients receiving Prograf are at increased risk of developing lymphomas and other malignancies, particularly of the skin. The risk appears to be related to the intensity and duration of immunosuppression rather than to the use of any specific agent. A lymphoproliferative disorder (LPD) related to Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infection has been reported in immunosuppressed organ transplant recipients. The risk of LPD appears greatest in young children who are at risk for primary EBV infection while immunosuppressed or who are switched to Prograf following long-term immunosuppression therapy. Because of the danger of oversuppression of the immune system which can increase susceptibility to infection, combination immunosuppressant therapy should be used with caution.

Latent Viral Infections

Immunosuppressed patients are at increased risk for opportunistic infections, including activation of latent viral infections. These include BK virus associated nephropathy and JC virus associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) which have been observed in patients receiving tacrolimus. These infections may lead to serious, including fatal, outcomes.

Prograf in Combination with Sirolimus

The use of full-dose Prograf with sirolimus (2 mg per day) in heart transplant recipients was associated with increased risk of wound healing complications, renal function impairment, and insulin-dependent post-transplant diabetes mellitus, and is not recommended (see CLINICAL STUDIES).

Anaphylactic Reactions

A few patients receiving Prograf injection have experienced anaphylactic reactions. Although the exact cause of these reactions is not known, other drugs with castor oil derivatives in the formulation have been associated with anaphylaxis in a small percentage of patients. Because of this potential risk of anaphylaxis, Prograf injection should be reserved for patients who are unable to take Prograf capsules.

Patients receiving Prograf injection should be under continuous observation for at least the first 30 minutes following the start of the infusion and at frequent intervals thereafter. If signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis occur, the infusion should be stopped. An aqueous solution of epinephrine should be available at the bedside as well as a source of oxygen.



Hypertension is a common adverse effect of Prograf therapy (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Mild or moderate hypertension is more frequently reported than severe hypertension. Antihypertensive therapy may be required; the control of blood pressure can be accomplished with any of the common antihypertensive agents. Since tacrolimus may cause hyperkalemia, potassium-sparing diuretics should be avoided. While calcium-channel blocking agents can be effective in treating Prograf-associated hypertension, care should be taken since interference with tacrolimus metabolism may require a dosage reduction (see Drug Interactions).

Renally and Hepatically Impaired Patients

For patients with renal insufficiency some evidence suggests that lower doses should be used (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

The use of Prograf in liver transplant recipients experiencing post-transplant hepatic impairment may be associated with increased risk of developing renal insufficiency related to high whole-blood levels of tacrolimus. These patients should be monitored closely and dosage adjustments should be considered. Some evidence suggests that lower doses should be used in these patients (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Myocardial Hypertrophy

Myocardial hypertrophy has been reported in association with the administration of Prograf, and is generally manifested by echocardiographically demonstrated concentric increases in left ventricular posterior wall and interventricular septum thickness. Hypertrophy has been observed in infants, children and adults. This condition appears reversible in most cases following dose reduction or discontinuance of therapy. In a group of 20 patients with pre- and post-treatment echocardiograms who showed evidence of myocardial hypertrophy, mean tacrolimus whole blood concentrations during the period prior to diagnosis of myocardial hypertrophy ranged from 11 to 53 ng/mL in infants (N=10, age 0.4 to 2 years), 4 to 46 ng/mL in children (N=7, age 2 to 15 years) and 11 to 24 ng/mL in adults (N=3, age 37 to 53 years).

In patients who develop renal failure or clinical manifestations of ventricular dysfunction while receiving Prograf therapy, echocardiographic evaluation should be considered. If myocardial hypertrophy is diagnosed, dosage reduction or discontinuation of Prograf should be considered.

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