Immunosuppressive Drugs in Renal Transplantation: A Review of the Regimens

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39 Scopus citations


Currently, expected 10-year first graft survival rates for kidneys from HLA-identical sibling, 1-haplotype-matched relative, and cadaver donors are 74, 51, and 40%, respectively. Histocompatibility, immunological conditioning with blood products, and immunosuppression with glucocorticoids, azathioprine, cyclosporin, and the antithymocyte (antilymphocyte) antibody preparations have been significant factors in the gradual improvement of kidney graft survival rates. Nearly all immunosuppression regimens are cyclospprin-based. Antithymocyte antibody induction therapy with delayed administration of cyclosporin is widely practised to avoid cyclosporin nephrotoxicity while the kidney graft is recovering from preservation injury. Late cyclosporin withdrawal results in inferior cadaver kidney transplant survival rates. Rejection crises usually respond to high dose glucocorticoid therapy. Glucocorticoid-resistant rejection usually responds to treatment with antithymocyte antibody. FK-506 is a promising new immunosuppressant that has properties similar to cyclosporin. Prophylaxis against viral, bacterial and fungal infections is necessary to reduce the morbidity of immunosuppression. The incidence of malignant conditions associated with viral infections is significantly increased with immunosuppression. New immunopharmacological agents and advances in genetic procedures may allow the induction of specific transplantation tolerance and successful xenotransplantation within the next decade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-566
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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