The aims of this study were to develop a population pharmacokinetic model of tacrolimus in adult kidney transplant recipients, to use this model to compare cytochrome P450 3A5 (CYP3A5) genotype–based initial dosing of tacrolimus with standard per-kilogram–based dosing, and to predict the best starting dose of tacrolimus based on patient genotype to achieve a trough concentration between 6 and 10 µg/L by day 5 posttransplantation.
Population analysis was performed using the software program NONMEM. Tacrolimus dosing regimens were compared by predicting tacrolimus trough concentrations in a simulated data set by running NONMEM with population parameters fixed at the final model estimates. Data from 173 patients with 1554 tacrolimus concentration–time measurements were modeled.
Tacrolimus disposition was well described by a 2-compartment model with first-order elimination and first-order absorption after a lag time. Patient CYP3A5 genotype (rs776746), weight, hematocrit, and postoperative day were identified as significant covariates effecting tacrolimus apparent oral clearance (CL/F), with higher CL/F in CYP3A5*1 allele carriers, heavier patients, patients with low hematocrit, and in the immediate posttransplantation period. Typical population estimates for tacrolimus CL/F in CYP3A5*1 allele carriers and noncarriers were 40.8 and 25.5 L/h, respectively.
In patients carrying the CYP3A5*1 allele, a per-kilogram dose of 0.075 mg/kg twice daily seemed too much low with approximately 65% of simulated subjects predicted to achieve a trough below 6 µg/L at day 5 posttransplantation. To reduce the risk of under immunosuppression in the immediate posttransplantation period, carriers of a CYP3A5*1 allele are likely to benefit from a tacrolimus starting dose of either 10 mg or 0.115 mg/kg twice daily.