Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is high in patients following renal transplantation. The present analysis assessed major cardiovascular risk factors and estimated the risk of coronary artery disease in the largest present-day comparative trial of tacrolimus vs. microemulsified cyclosporine A.
In this 6-month study, 557 patients were randomly allocated to therapy with tacrolimus (n = 286) or cyclosporine A (n = 271) concomitantly with azathioprine and corticosteroids. The primary endpoint was the incidence of and time to acute rejection. Blood pressure, serum cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose were measured at baseline, and at months 1, 3, and 6. Ten-year risk of coronary heart disease was estimated according to the Framingham risk algorithm.
Tacrolimus resulted in significantly lower summary measures (time-weighted average) of serum cholesterol (p = 0.0004) and mean arterial blood pressure (p = 0.0156), but in a higher summary measure of blood glucose (p = 0.0028) than cyclosporine. The summary measure of serum triglycerides was not different between treatment groups (p = 0.368). The mean 10-year coronary artery disease risk estimate was significantly lowered in men (p = 0.0032) treated with tacrolimus, but was unchanged in women.
Tacrolimus and cyclosporine A microemulsion exert a compound-specific impact on cardiovascular risk factors and appear to affect the predicted rate of cardiovascular morbidity in different manners.