Both tacrolimus (TAC) and fentanyl are frequently used in patients receiving allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. A recently published report demonstrated that fentanyl can reduce the total body clearance of TAC; however, most patients in this study were administered concomitantly with azole antifungal agents, which are known to be strong inhibitors of CYP3A. Hence, the exact effect of fentanyl on TAC pharmacokinetics was unclear. In the current study, the authors retrospectively investigated the pharmacokinetic interaction between TAC and fentanyl in patients who were not concomitantly administered drugs that affect TAC metabolism.
Patients with continuous infusion of TAC and fentanyl after hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University between January 2014 and December 2018 were enrolled. The total body clearance of TAC was compared before and after the initiation or discontinuation of fentanyl.
Thirty patients (24 men and 6 women; median age, 11 years) were screened for their eligibility. Twenty-eight patients were enrolled for evaluating the effects of the fentanyl initiation on TAC pharmacokinetics; 2 patients were excluded because of the absence of data related to the TAC blood concentrations or the concomitant use of azole antifungals. Twenty patients were enrolled for investigating the effects of fentanyl discontinuation on TAC pharmacokinetics, whereas 10 patients were excluded because of the absence of data related to the blood concentration of TAC or the additional administration of azole antifungals. Furthermore, the total body clearance of TAC was not significantly affected by the initiation or discontinuation of fentanyl, although there were large interindividual variations. In addition, the results remained the same even when the analysis was performed independently for adults and children.
Intravenous infusion of fentanyl does not affect the pharmacokinetics of TAC.