Tacrolimus (Page 4 of 14)

5.11 Anaphylactic Reactions with Tacrolimus Injection

Anaphylactic reactions have occurred with injectables containing castor oil derivatives, including tacrolimus, in a small percentage of patients (0.6%). The exact cause of these reactions is not known. Tacrolimus injection should be reserved for patients who are unable to take tacrolimus capsules [see Indications and Usage (1.4)].

Patients receiving tacrolimus 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.

5.12 Use with Sirolimus

The safety and efficacy of tacrolimus with sirolimus has not been established in kidney transplant patients.

Use of sirolimus with tacrolimus in studies of de novo liver transplant patients was associated with an excess mortality, graft loss, and hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) and is not recommended [see Indications and Usage (1.4)].

Use of sirolimus (2 mg per day) with tacrolimus in heart transplant patients in a U.S. trial was associated with increased risk of renal function impairment, wound healing complications, and insulin-dependent post-transplant diabetes mellitus, and is not recommended [see Clinical Studies (14.3)].

5.13 Use with CYP3A4 Inhibitors and Inducers Including Those That Prolong QT

When coadministering tacrolimus with strong CYP3A4-inhibitors (e.g., telaprevir, boceprevir, ritonavir, ketoconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, clarithromycin) and strong inducers (e.g., rifampin, rifabutin) adjustments in the dosing regimen of tacrolimus and subsequent frequent monitoring of tacrolimus whole blood trough concentrations and tacrolimus-associated adverse reactions are recommended [see Drug Interactions (7) ].

5.14 QT Prolongation

Tacrolimus may prolong the QT/QTc interval and may cause Torsade de Pointes. Avoid tacrolimus in patients with congenital long QT syndrome. In patients with congestive heart failure, bradyarrhythmias, those taking certain antiarrhythmic medications or other medicinal products that lead to QT prolongation, and those with electrolyte disturbances such as hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, or hypomagnesemia, consider obtaining electrocardiograms and monitoring electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, calcium) periodically during treatment.

When coadministering tacrolimus with other substrates and/or inhibitors of CYP3A4 that also have the potential to prolong the QT interval, a reduction in tacrolimus dose, frequent monitoring of tacrolimus whole blood concentrations, and monitoring for QT prolongation is recommended. Use of tacrolimus with amiodarone has been reported to result in increased tacrolimus whole blood concentrations with or without concurrent QT prolongation [see Drug Interactions (7) ].

5.15 Myocardial Hypertrophy

Myocardial hypertrophy has been reported in infants, children, and adults, particularly those with high tacrolimus trough concentrations, and is generally manifested by echocardiographically demonstrated concentric increases in left ventricular posterior wall and interventricular septum thickness. This condition appears reversible in most cases following dose reduction or discontinuance of therapy. In patients who develop renal failure or clinical manifestations of ventricular dysfunction while receiving tacrolimus therapy, echocardiographic evaluation should be considered. If myocardial hypertrophy is diagnosed, dosage reduction or discontinuation of tacrolimus should be considered [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].

5.16 Immunizations

The use of live vaccines should be avoided during treatment with tacrolimus; examples include (not limited to) the following: intranasal influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, oral polio, BCG, yellow fever, varicella, and TY21a typhoid vaccines.

5.17 Pure Red Cell Aplasia

Cases of pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) have been reported in patients treated with tacrolimus. A mechanism for tacrolimus-induced PRCA has not been elucidated. All patients reported risk factors for PRCA such as parvovirus B19 infection, underlying disease, or concomitant medications associated with PRCA. If PRCA is diagnosed, discontinuation of tacrolimus should be considered [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].

5.18 Gastrointestinal Perforation

Gastrointestinal perforation has been reported in patients treated with tacrolimus; all reported cases were considered to be a complication of transplant surgery or accompanied by infection, diverticulum, or malignant neoplasm. As gastrointestinal perforation may be serious or life-threatening, appropriate medical/surgical management should be instituted promptly [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].


The following serious and otherwise important adverse drug reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of labeling:

6.1 Clinical Studies Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice. In addition, the clinical trials were not designed to establish comparative differences across study arms with regards to the adverse reactions discussed below.

Kidney Transplant

The incidence of adverse reactions was determined in three randomized kidney transplant trials. One of the trials used azathioprine (AZA) and corticosteroids and two of the trials used mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and corticosteroids concomitantly for maintenance immunosuppression.

Tacrolimus-based immunosuppression in conjunction with azathioprine and corticosteroids following kidney transplantation was assessed in trial where 205 patients received tacrolimus based immunosuppression and 207 patients received cyclosporine based immunosuppression. The trial population had a mean age of 43 years (mean±sd was 43±13 years on tacrolimus and 44±12 years on cyclosporine arm), the distribution was 61% male, and the composition was White (58%), Black (25%), Hispanic (12%) and Other (5%). The 12 month post-transplant information from this trial is presented below.

The most common adverse reactions (≥ 30%) observed in tacrolimus-treated kidney transplant patients are: infection, tremor, hypertension, abnormal renal function, constipation, diarrhea, headache, abdominal pain, insomnia, nausea, hypomagnesemia, urinary tract infection, hypophosphatemia, peripheral edema, asthenia, pain, hyperlipidemia, hyperkalemia and anemia. Adverse reactions that occurred in ≥ 15% of kidney transplant patients treated with tacrolimus in conjunction with azathioprine are presented below:

Table 4. Kidney Transplantation: Adverse Reactions Occurring in ≥ 15% of Patients Treated with Tacrolimus in Conjunction with Azathioprine (AZA)
Tacrolimus / AZA ( N = 205 ) Cyclosporine / AZA ( N = 207 )
Nervous System
Tremor 54% 34%
Headache 44% 38%
Insomnia 32% 30%
Paresthesia 23% 16%
Dizziness 19% 16%
Diarrhea 44% 41%
Nausea 38% 36%
Constipation 35% 43%
Vomiting 29% 23%
Dyspepsia 28% 20%
Hypertension 50% 52%
Chest Pain 19% 13%
Creatinine Increased 45% 42%
Urinary Tract Infection 34% 35%
Metabolic and Nutritional
Hypophosphatemia 49% 53%
Hypomagnesemia 34% 17%
Hyperlipemia 31% 38%
Hyperkalemia 31% 32%
Diabetes Mellitus 24% 9%
Hypokalemia 22% 25%
Hyperglycemia 22% 16%
Edema 18% 19%
Hemic and Lymphatic
Anemia 30% 24%
Leukopenia 15% 17%
Infection 45% 49%
Peripheral Edema 36% 48%
Asthenia 34% 30%
Abdominal Pain 33% 31%
Pain 32% 30%
Fever 29% 29%
Back Pain 24% 20%
Respiratory System
Dyspnea 22% 18%
Cough Increased 18% 15%
Arthralgia 25% 24%
Rash 17% 12%
Pruritus 15% 7%

Two trials were conducted for tacrolimus-based immunosuppression in conjunction with MMF and corticosteroids. In the non-US trial (Study 1), the incidence of adverse reactions was based on 1195 kidney transplant patients that received tacrolimus (Group C, n=403), or one of two cyclosporine (CsA) regimens (Group A, n=384 and Group B, n=408) in combination with MMF and corticosteroids; all patients, except those in one of the two cyclosporine groups, also received induction with daclizumab. The trial population had a mean age of 46 years (range 17 to 76), the distribution was 65% male, and the composition was 93% Caucasian. The 12 month post-transplant information from this trial is presented below.

Adverse reactions that occurred in ≥10% of kidney transplant patients treated with tacrolimus in conjunction with MMF in Study 1 [Note: This trial was conducted entirely outside of the United States. Such trials often report a lower incidence of adverse reactions in comparison to U.S. trials] are presented below:

Table 5. Kidney Transplantation: Adverse Reactions Occurring in ≥10% of Patients Treated with Tacrolimus in Conjunction with MMF (Study 1)
Tacrolimus ( Group C ) ( N = 403 ) Cyclosporine ( Group A ) ( N = 384 ) Cyclosporine ( Group B ) ( N = 408 )
Diarrhea 25% 16% 13%
Urinary Tract Infection 24% 28% 24%
Anemia 17% 19% 17%
Hypertension 13% 14% 12%
Leukopenia 13% 10% 10%
Edema peripheral 11% 12% 13%
Hyperlipidemia 10% 15% 13%
Key: Group A = CsA/MMF/CS, B = CsA/MMF/CS/Daclizumab, C = Tac/MMF/CS/Daclizumab
CsA = Cyclosporine, CS = Corticosteroids, Tac = Tacrolimus, MMF = mycophenolate mofetil

In the U.S. trial (Study 2) with tacrolimus-based immunosuppression in conjunction with MMF and corticosteroids, 424 kidney transplant patients received tacrolimus (n=212) or cyclosporine (n=212) in combination with MMF 1 gram twice daily, basiliximab induction, and corticosteroids. The trial population had a mean age of 48 years (range 17 to 77), the distribution was 63% male, and the composition was White (74%), Black (20%), Asian (3%) and other (3%). The 12 month post-transplant information from this trial is presented below.

Adverse reactions that occurred in ≥15% of kidney transplant patients treated with tacrolimus in conjunction with MMF in Study 2 are presented below:

Table 6. Kidney Transplantation: Adverse Reactions Occurring in ≥15% of Patients Treated with Tacrolimus in Conjunction with MMF (Study 2)
Tacrolimus / MMF Cyclosporine / MMF
( N = 212 ) ( N = 212 )
Gastrointestinal Disorders
Diarrhea 44% 26%
Nausea 39% 47%
Constipation 36% 41%
Vomiting 26% 25%
Dyspepsia 18% 15%
Injury , Poisoning , and Procedural Complication
Post-Procedural Pain 29% 27%
Incision Site Complication 28% 23%
Graft Dysfunction 24% 18%
Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders
Hypomagnesemia 28% 22%
Hypophosphatemia 28% 21%
Hyperkalemia 26% 19%
Hyperglycemia 21% 15%
Hyperlipidemia 18% 25%
Hypokalemia 16% 18%
Nervous System Disorders
Tremor 34% 20%
Headache 24% 25%
Edema Peripheral 35% 46%
Hypertension 32% 35%
Insomnia 30% 21%
Urinary Tract Infection 26% 22%
Blood Creatinine Increased 23% 23%

Less frequently observed adverse reactions in both liver transplantation and kidney transplantation patients are described under the subsection Less Frequently Reported Adverse Reactions.

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