The formal recommendation for converting twice-daily tacrolimus immediate release (IR) to once-daily tacrolimus extended release (ER) is a 1:1 dose conversion. However, more recent clinical analysis has shown that this may not be true; some patients may require a higher dose. In addition, de novo dosing tacrolimus ER has revealed that African Americans require approximately 20%–30% higher doses than Caucasians to achieve similar levels. As a result, this study sought to identify the appropriate dose conversion in the African American kidney transplant population, a population at high risk of rejection.
This was a single-center, prospective, open-label study comparing the difference in dose-normalized trough and total daily dose necessary to reach steady-state therapeutic goal, after conversion from tacrolimus IR to tacrolimus ER, in 25 African American kidney transplant recipients.
After conversion to tacrolimus ER, there was a significant decrease in dose-normalized trough (C0) (0.44 versus 0.59, P = 0.03). Statistically significant differences were seen in both total daily and weight-based doses, when reported as actual values (15 versus 10 mg and 0.16 versus 0.11 mg/kg, respectively), as well as when standardized to achieve a target tacrolimus C0 of 8 ng/mL (18.1 versus 13.6 mg and 0.17 versus 0.15 mg/kg, respectively). The median standardized dose conversion required was 1.3 [1.0, 1.4], for the overall population. There were no instances of biopsy-proven acute rejection, allograft loss, or study drug discontinuation.
This single-center, open-label conversion study demonstrated that there was a statistically and clinically significant decrease in dose-normalized trough after conversion from tacrolimus IR to tacrolimus ER in an African American kidney transplant population and that a 1:1 dose conversion is unlikely to meet therapeutic goals.