Management of drug-to-drug interactions between cyclosporine A and the protease-inhibitor lopinavir/ritonavir in liver-transplanted HIV-infected patients



Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has improved the life expectancy of HIV-infected patients, allowing orthotopic liver transplantation as a reasonable treatment option for selected patients with terminal liver disease. Both non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors, key elements of HAART, give rise to substantial drug-to-drug interactions with immunosuppressive drugs such as tacrolimus and cyclosporine A. After studying 12-hour pharmacokinetic profiles in 3 HIV-positive patients after liver transplantation, we describe how dosing of cyclosporine A can be adjusted to maintain effective immunosuppressive drug levels on a daily dosing schedule when ritonavir-boosted indinavir or lopinavir-based antiretroviral therapy is given. To avoid toxic drug levels, we used an orally available cyclosporine A formulation prepared from the commercial available intravenous solution, which enabled dose adjustments in 1-mg increments. Under ritonavir-boosted HAART, cyclosporine A levels showed markedly altered absorption/elimination characteristics with more or less constant blood-levels throughout the dosing interval and prolonged elimination half-lives up to 38 hours. To obtain equivalent areas under the curve of cyclosporine A, daily doses were reduced to 5–20% of the individual standard doses given before initiation of ritonavir-boosted HAART. Because of the flat absorption/elimination profiles under ritonavir-boosted HAART cyclosporine A, dosing could be reliably monitored long term by measuring cyclosporine A trough-levels. (Liver Transpl 2004;10:939–944.)