Tacrolimus (Page 2 of 12)

2.3 Dosing for Pediatric Liver Transplant Patients

Oral formulation (capsules)

Pediatric patients in general need higher tacrolimus doses compared to adults: the higher dose requirements may decrease as the child grows older. Recommendations for the initial oral dosing for pediatric transplant patients and whole blood trough concentration range are shown in Table 3. Perform TDM to ensure that patients are within the ranges listed in Table 3.

Table 3. Summary of Initial Tacrolimus Capsule Dosing Recommendations and Whole Blood Trough Concentration Range in Children

Patient Population Initial Tacrolimus Capsule Dosing Whole Blood Trough Concentration Range
Pediatric liver transplant patients2 0.15 to 0.2 mg/kg/day capsules divided in two doses, administered every 12 hours Month 1 to 12: 5 to 20 ng/mL

2. See Clinical Studies (14.2), Liver Transplantation.

For conversion of pediatric patients from tacrolimus for oral suspension to tacrolimus capsules or from tacrolimus capsules to tacrolimus for oral suspension, the total daily dose should remain the same. Following conversion from one formulation to another formulation of tacrolimus, therapeutic drug monitoring is recommended [see Dosage and Administration (2.6)]. If a patient is unable to receive an oral formulation, the patient may be started on tacrolimus injection. For pediatric liver transplant patients, the intravenous dose is 0.03 to 0.05 mg/kg/day.

Additional pediatric use information is approved for Astellas Pharma US, Inc.’s Prograf (tacrolimus) products. However, due to Astellas Pharma US, Inc.’s marketing exclusivity rights, this drug product is not labeled with that information.

2.4 Dosage Adjustment in Patients with Renal Impairment

Due to its potential for nephrotoxicity, consideration should be given to dosing tacrolimus capsules at the lower end of the therapeutic dosing range in patients who have received a liver or heart transplant and have pre-existing renal impairment. Further reductions in dose below the targeted range may be required.

In kidney transplant patients with post-operative oliguria, the initial dose of tacrolimus capsules should be administered no sooner than 6 hours and within 24 hours of transplantation, but may be delayed until renal function shows evidence of recovery [see Dosage and Administration (2.2), Warnings and Precautions (5.5), Use in Specific Populations (8.6), and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

2.5 Dosage Adjustment in Patients with Hepatic Impairment

Due to the reduced clearance and prolonged half-life, patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh ≥ 10) may require lower doses of tacrolimus capsules. Close monitoring of blood concentrations is warranted.

The use of tacrolimus capsules in liver transplant recipients experiencing post-transplant hepatic impairment may be associated with increased risk of developing renal insufficiency related to high whole blood concentrations 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 (2.2), Warnings and Precautions (5.5), Use in Specific Populations (8.7), and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

2.6 Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

Monitoring of tacrolimus blood concentrations in conjunction with other laboratory and clinical parameters is considered an essential aid to patient management for the evaluation of rejection, toxicity, dose adjustments, and compliance. Whole blood trough concentration range can be found in Table 1.

Factors influencing frequency of monitoring include but are not limited to hepatic or renal dysfunction, the addition or discontinuation of potentially interacting drugs and the post-transplant time. Blood concentration monitoring is not a replacement for renal and liver function monitoring and tissue biopsies. Data from clinical trials show that tacrolimus whole blood concentrations were most variable during the first week post-transplantation.

The relative risks of toxicity and efficacy failure are related to tacrolimus whole blood trough concentrations. Therefore, monitoring of whole blood trough concentrations is recommended to assist in the clinical evaluation of toxicity and efficacy failure.

Methods commonly used for the assay of tacrolimus include high-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometric detection (HPLC/MS/MS) and immunoassays. Immunoassays may react with metabolites as well as parent compound. Therefore, assay results obtained with immunoassays may have a positive bias relative to results of HPLC/MS. The bias may depend upon the specific assay and laboratory. Comparison of the concentrations in published literature to patient concentrations using the current assays must be made with detailed knowledge of the assay methods and biological matrices employed. Whole blood is the matrix of choice and specimens should be collected into tubes containing ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) anticoagulant. Heparin anticoagulation is not recommended because of the tendency to form clots on storage. Samples which are not analyzed immediately should be stored at room temperature or in a refrigerator and assayed within 7 days; see assay instructions for specifics. If samples are to be kept longer, they should be deep frozen at -20° C. One study showed drug recovery > 90% for samples stored at -20° C for 6 months, with reduced recovery observed after 6 months. Additional pediatric use information is approved for Astellas Pharma US, Inc.’s Prograf (tacrolimus) products. However, due to Astellas Pharma US, Inc.’s marketing exclusivity rights, this drug product is not labeled with that information.

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

Tacrolimus Capsules, USP is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Capsules Oblong, hard capsule for oral administration contains anhydrous tacrolimus as follows:
  • 0.5 mg, yellow color, imprinted in red “0.5 mg” on the capsule cap and “Tacro” on capsule body
  • 1 mg, white color, imprinted in red “1 mg” on the capsule cap and “Tacro” on capsule body
  • 5 mg, greyish-red color, imprinted with white “5 mg” on the capsule cap and “Tacro” on capsule body

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

Tacrolimus is contraindicated in patients with a hypersensitivity to tacrolimus. Tacrolimus injection is contraindicated in patients with a hypersensitivity to HCO-60 (polyoxyl 60 hydrogenated castor oil).Hypersensitivity symptoms reported include dyspnea, rash, pruritus, and acute respiratory distress syndrome [see Adverse Reactions (6)].

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Lymphoma and Other Malignancies

Patients receiving immunosuppressants, including tacrolimus, are at increased risk of developing lymphomas and other malignancies, particularly of the skin [see Boxed Warning]. The risk appears to be related to the intensity and duration of immunosuppression rather than to the use of any specific agent.

As usual for patients with increased risk for skin cancer,examine patients for skin changes; exposure to sunlight and UV light should be limited by wearing protective clothing and using a broad spectrum sunscreen with a high protection factor.

Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) has been reported in immunosuppressed organ transplant recipients. The majority of PTLD events appear related to Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infection. The risk of PTLD appears greatest in those individuals who are EBV seronegative, a population which includes many young children. Monitor EBV serology during treatment.

5.2 Serious Infections

Patients receiving immunosuppressants, including tacrolimus, are at increased risk of developing bacterial, viral, fungal, and protozoal infections, including opportunistic infections. These infections may lead to serious, including fatal, outcomes. Serious viral infections reported include:

  • Polyomavirus-associated nephropathy (PVAN), mostly due to BK virus infection
  • JC virus-associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)
  • Cytomegalovirus infections: CMV seronegative transplant patients who receive an organ from a CMV seropositive donor disease are at higher risk of developing CMV viremia and CMV disease.

Monitor for the development of infection and adjust the immunosuppressive regimen to balance the risk of rejection with the risk of infection [see Adverse Reactions (6.1, 6.2)].

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