Conversion from Prograf to Advagraf in Adolescents with stable liver transplants: Comparative pharmacokinetics and 1-year follow-up


  • The authors thank Astellas Pharma for its financial support for the tacrolimus determination and the payment of trial insurance. Astellas Pharma did not participate in the design, development, or analysis of the study or in the writing of this article, and the investigators did not receive any other grant for their participation in this trial.

Address reprint requests to Antonio J. Carcas-Sansuán, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Autonomous University of Madrid, Paseo de la Castellana 261, Madrid, Spain 28046. E-mail:


The recommended dose of Advagraf for conversion from Prograf is considered to be 1:1 on a milligram basis. However, the long-term equivalence of Prograf and Advagraf has been questioned. The relative bioavailability of Advagraf and Prograf was evaluated in a single-center, open-label study of Prograf-to-Advagraf conversion in 20 patients, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years, who had a stable liver transplant and were receiving Prograf. After the supervised administration of Prograf for 7 days, the patients were converted to Advagraf. On days 7 and 14, serial blood samples were obtained for tacrolimus determinations. The pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated with a noncompartmental approach, and the relative bioavailability of both formulations was calculated according to standard statistical methods. Polymorphisms in cytochrome P450 3A5 (rs776746), adenosine triphosphate–binding cassette B1 (rs1045642), POR*28 (rs1057868), and POR (rs2868177) were determined with standard methods. The clinical and analytical data from a 1-year follow-up period were collected for all patients 30, 90, 180, and 360 days after conversion. The mean ratios for Cmax and AUC0-24 were 96.9 (90% confidence interval = 85.37-110.19) and 100.1 (90% confidence interval = 90.8-112.1), respectively. No relationship was found between the patients' genotypes and the pharmacokinetic tacrolimus values. During the follow-up, biochemical parameters (aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, bilirubin, cystatin C, and creatinine) did not change significantly; 3 patients presented with relevant clinical events, but no event was considered to be related to tacrolimus. A decrease in tacrolimus blood levels and an increase in dose/level ratios were observed 3 and 6 months after conversion, but they returned to basal levels by month 12. In conclusion, conversion from Prograf to Advagraf with a 1:1 dose equivalence is appropriate as an initial guideline. Our 1-year follow-up showed a transient decrease in tacrolimus levels, so closer monitoring of tacrolimus levels may be required after conversion. Liver Transpl 19:1151–1158, 2013. © 2013 AASLD.