Time to stop giving toxic drugs to kidney transplant patients?

Patients who receive kidney transplants must take lifelong medications that, while preventing organ rejection, can also compromise other aspects of health. Immunosuppresive drugs called calcineurin inhibitors protect transplanted organs from being rejected, but they can be toxic to the kidneys over the long term and can make patients susceptible to infection, cancer, and other threats.

A new analysis has found that transplant patients can safely minimize or avoid using calcineurin inhibitors. The study, conducted by Richard Borrows, MD and his colleagues at the Renal Institute of Birmingham, in England, appears in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the (JASN), a publication of the American Society of Nephrology.

The investigators examined dozens of studies conducted between1966 and 2010 that compared different treatments following . When they weighed the risks and benefits of avoiding or reducing calcineurin inhibitors immediately after kidney transplantation, the researchers found that the strategy improves kidney function without causing rejection in the short-to-medium period after transplantation. In many cases, patients took newer that are less toxic to the kidneys.

Approximately 94% of take calcineurin inhibitors after being discharged from the hospital. "This study suggests that after 30 years of using calcineurin inhibitors, it may now be possible to undertake safe and effective transplantation without these drugs, at least in some groups of patients," said Dr. Borrows.

More information: The article, entitled "Meta-analysis of Calcineurin Inhibitors in Kidney Transplantation," will appear online at doi:10.1681/ASN.2010111160

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Switching immunosuppressants reduces cancer risk in kidney

Nov 02, 2009

Switching to a newer type of immunosuppressant drug may reduce the high rate of skin cancer after kidney transplantation, according to research being presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 42nd Annual Meeting and ...

Recommended for you

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

Jul 30, 2014

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients ...

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

Jul 30, 2014

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal ...

Key element of CPR missing from guidelines

Jul 29, 2014

Removing the head tilt/chin lift component of rescue breaths from the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines could be a mistake, according to Queen's University professor Anthony Ho.

Burnout impacts transplant surgeons (w/ Video)

Jul 28, 2014

Despite saving thousands of lives yearly, nearly half of organ transplant surgeons report a low sense of personal accomplishment and 40% feel emotionally exhausted, according to a new national study on transplant surgeon ...

User comments