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Determining the effect of immunosuppressant adherence on graft failure risk among renal transplant recipients


  • Conflict of interest: The authors of this manuscript have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
  • The results presented in this paper have not been published previously in whole or part, except in abstract format.


The objective was to use the United States Renal Data System (USRDS) to quantify the relationship between immunosuppressant therapy (IST) adherence and risk of graft failure among adult renal transplant recipients (RTRs). A secondary objective was to examine the relationship among select patient characteristics and IST adherence. The study sample included adult RTRs who: received primary transplant between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2005; experienced graft survival for at least 12 months post-transplant and had at least 12 months of data in the USRDS; utilized Medicare coverage for IST; and were prescribed cyclosporine or tacrolimus. IST adherence was measured by medication possession ratio (MPR). Pearson chi-square tests were used to examine associations between patient characteristics and MPR quartiles. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to assess relationships among time to graft failure, MPR, and patient characteristics. Thirty-one thousand nine hundred and thirteen RTRs met inclusion criteria. Older age, female gender, white race, deceased donors, and tacrolimus were associated with greater adherence (p < 0.001). Cox proportional hazard modeling indicated greater adherence, white race, and having a living donor were significantly associated with longer graft survival (p < 0.05). Future prospective studies should further examine the clinical significance of IST nonadherence as it relates to graft failure.