Background: While conversion from cyclosporine to everolimus is well documented, conversion from tacrolimus has been poorly studied. In this randomised, controlled trial the safety and tolerability of switching from tacrolimus to everolimus with glucocorticoid withdrawal after living-donor kidney transplantation was studied.
Methods: A total of 194 patients were planned to be randomised 1:1 to either continue tacrolimus or to convert to everolimus at month 3 after transplantation. At randomisation, all patients received tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil and prednisolone. Everolimus was started in a dose of 1.5 mg twice daily, aiming for predose concentrations of 4-7 ng/ml. Prednisolone was gradually withdrawn in both groups.
Results: The trial was stopped prematurely after the inclusion of 60 patients. The interim analysis showed an unacceptably high rejection rate in the everolimus group as compared with the control group: 30.0% vs. 6.7% (95% CI: 0.047-0.420; p = 0.045). An additional 8 patients stopped everolimus because of toxicity. At the end of follow-up (month 12) only 12 (40%) patients assigned to everolimus were still on the study drug.
Conclusions: Conversion from tacrolimus to everolimus-based immunosuppression with withdrawal of prednisolone three months after kidney transplantation results in an unacceptably high risk of acute rejection and causes considerable toxicity. Based on our findings, such a switch strategy cannot be recommended.

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The Netherlands Journal of Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bouamar, R., Osinga, J. A. J., Clahsen-van Groningen, M., Damman, J., Baan, C., van de Wetering, J., … Hesselink, D. (2018). Conversion from tacrolimus to everolimus with complete and early glucocorticoid withdrawal after kidney transplantation. The Netherlands Journal of Medicine, 76(1), 14–26. Retrieved from