The safety and efficacy of tacrolimus-based immunosuppression following orthotopic liver transplantation were assessed in two prospective, randomized, non-blinded multicenter trials. The active control groups were treated with a cyclosporine-based immunosuppressive regimen (CsA/AZA). Both trials used concomitant adrenal corticosteroids as part of the immunosuppressive regimens. These trials compared patient and graft survival rates at 12 months following transplantation.
In one trial, 529 patients were enrolled at 12 clinical sites in the United States; prior to surgery, 263 were randomized to the tacrolimus-based immunosuppressive regimen and 266 to the CsA/AZA. In 10 of the 12 sites, the same CsA/AZA protocol was used, while 2 sites used different control protocols. This trial excluded patients with renal dysfunction, fulminant hepatic failure with Stage IV encephalopathy, and cancers; pediatric patients (≤12 years old) were allowed.
In the second trial, 545 patients were enrolled at 8 clinical sites in Europe; prior to surgery, 270 were randomized to the tacrolimus-based immunosuppressive regimen and 275 to CsA/AZA. In this trial, each center used its local standard CsA/AZA protocol in the active-control arm. This trial excluded pediatric patients, but did allow enrollment of subjects with renal dysfunction, fulminant hepatic failure in Stage IV encephalopathy, and cancers other than primary hepatic with metastases.
One-year patient survival and graft survival in the tacrolimus-based treatment groups were similar to those in the CsA/AZA treatment groups in both trials.The overall 1-year patient survival (CsA/AZA and tacrolimus-based treatment groups combined) was 88% in the U.S. trial and 78% in the European trial. The overall 1-year graft survival (CsA/AZA and tacrolimus-based treatment groups combined) was 81% in the U.S. trial and 73% in the European trial. In both trials, the median time to convert from IV to oral tacrolimus capsules dosing was 2 days.
Although there is a lack of direct correlation between tacrolimus concentrations and drug efficacy, data from clinical trials of liver transplant patients have shown an increasing incidence of adverse reactions with increasing trough blood concentrations. Most patients are stable when trough whole blood concentrations are maintained between 5 to 20 ng/mL. Long-term post-transplant patients often are maintained at the low end of this target range. Data from the U.S. clinical trial show that the median trough blood concentrations, measured at intervals from the second week to one year post-transplantation ranged from 9.8 ng/mL to 19.4 ng/mL.
Pediatric Liver Transplantation Using Tacrolimus Granules
The efficacy and safety of Tacrolimus Granules plus corticosteroids were compared with a triple regimen of cyclosporine/corticosteroids/azathioprine in a randomized, open-label study, in de novo pediatric liver transplant patients. The study was conducted outside the United States and enrolled patients aged 16 years or younger. The distribution of pediatric patients by age was similar in both treatment groups, with a majority < 5 years. Patients were randomized to either tacrolimus for oral suspension 0.3 mg/kg/day (N = 91) or cyclosporine 10 mg/kg/day orally (N = 90) initiated 6 hours after completion of transplant surgery. Doses throughout the 1-year study period were adjusted to maintain whole blood trough levels within 5-20 ng/mL [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.3)] . Based on trough levels, doses of tacrolimus were adjusted to 0.17 mg/kg/day and 0.14 mg/kg/day by days 2 and 3, respectively. At 12 months, the incidence rate of BPAR, graft loss, death, or lost to follow-up was 52.7% in the tacrolimus group and 61.1% in the cyclosporine group ( Table 27).
T able 27. Key Efficacy Results at 12 Months in Pediatric Liver Transplant Recipients Receiving Tacrolimus Granules or Cyclosporine
|Tacrolimus Granules (N = 91)||Cyclosporine (N = 90)|
|Overall Failure||48 (52.7%)||55 (61.1%)|
|Components of efficacy failure|
|BPAR||40 (44.0%)||49 (54.4%)|
|Graft loss||7 (7.7%)||13 (14.4%)|
|Graft loss excluding death||1 (1.1%)||6 (6.7%)|
|Mortality||6 (6.6%)||7 (7.8%)|
|Lost to follow-up||2 (2.2%)||0|
|Treatment Difference of efficacy failure compared to Cyclosporine (95% CI*)||-8.4% (-22.7%, 6.0%)|
* 95% confidence interval calculated using normal approximation.
Two open-label, randomized, comparative trials evaluated the safety and efficacy of tacrolimus-based and cyclosporine based immunosuppression in primary orthotopic heart transplantation. In a trial conducted in Europe, 314 patients received a regimen of antibody induction, corticosteroids, and azathioprine in combination with tacrolimus or cyclosporine modified for 18 months. In a 3-arm trial conducted in the US, 331 patients received corticosteroids and tacrolimus plus sirolimus, tacrolimus plus mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) or cyclosporine modified plus MMF for 1 year.
In the European trial, patient/graft survival at 18 months post-transplant was similar between treatment arms, 92% in the tacrolimus group and 90% in the cyclosporine group. In the U.S. trial, patient and graft survival at 12 months was similar with 93% survival in the tacrolimus plus MMF group and 86% survival in the cyclosporine modified plus MMF group. In the European trial, the cyclosporine trough concentrations were above the pre-defined target range (i.e., 100 to 200 ng/mL) at Day 122 and beyond in 32% to 68% of the patients in the cyclosporine treatment arm, whereas the tacrolimus trough concentrations were within the pre-defined target range (i.e., 5 to 15 ng/mL) in 74% to 86% of the patients in the tacrolimus treatment arm. Data from this European trial indicate that from 1 week to 3 months post-transplant, approximately 80% of patients maintained trough concentrations between 8 to 20 ng/mL and, from 3 months through 18 months post-transplant, approximately 80% of patients maintained trough concentrations between 6 to 18 ng/mL.
The U.S. trial contained a third arm of a combination regimen of sirolimus, 2 mg per day, and full-dose tacrolimus; however, this regimen was associated with increased risk of wound-healing complications, renal function impairment, and insulin-dependent post-transplant diabetes mellitus, and is not recommended [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.10)].
1. “OSHA Hazardous Drugs.” OSHA. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hazardousdrugs/index.html
Tacrolimus Capsules, USP, 0.5 mg: Light yellow color, oblong shape, size “5” hard gelatin capsules printed with “PBT” and “0.5” in red ink on cap and body respectively.
Capsules are supplied as follows:
NDC 69452- 153 -20 Bottle of 100
Tacrolimus Capsules, USP, 1 mg: White color, oblong shape, size “5” hard gelatin capsules printed with “PBT” and “1.0” in red ink on cap and body respectively.
Capsules are supplied as follows:
NDC 69452- 154 -20 Bottle of 100
Tacrolimus Capsules, USP, 5 mg: Pink color, oblong shape, size “4” hard gelatin capsules printed with “PBT” and “5.0” in red ink on cap and body respectively.
Capsules are supplied as follows:
NDC 69452- 155 -20 Bottle of 100
Note: Tacrolimus capsule are not filled to maximum capsule capacity. Capsule contains labeled amount.
Store and Dispense
Store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F); excursions permitted to 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F) [See USP Controlled Room Temperature].
Tacrolimus can cause fetal harm. Tacrolimus capsules should not be opened or crushed. Avoid inhalation or direct contact with skin or mucous membranes of the powder contained in tacrolimus capsules. If such contact occurs wash the skin thoroughly with soap and water; if ocular contact occurs, rinse eyes with water. In case a spill occurs, wipe the surface with a wet paper towel. Follow applicable special handling and disposal procedures 1.
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