Clinical efficacy and safety of tacrolimus in Pakistani living donor liver transplant recipients

Fahad Azam, Moosa Khan, Abu Bakar Hafeez Bhatti, Faisal Saud Dar, Arsalan Ahmad, Nismat Javed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To evaluate the association between tacrolimus trough levels and dosage in Pakistani patients undergoing live donor liver transplantation (LDLT), and the efficacy and adverse effects at different tacrolimus trough levels and dosages. Study Design: An observational study. Place and Duration of Study: Shifa International Hospital, Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad and Basic Medical Sciences Institute, Karachi, from September 2016 to October 2018. Methodology: Sixty liver transplant recipients were included. Demographics, clinical data, tacrolimus trough levels and doses were monitored as per routine protocol. Electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA) was used to measure tacrolimus trough levels. Acute cellular rejection (ACR), sepsis and other adverse events were monitored at different tacrolimus trough levels in early post-transplantation period. Results: Mean age of transplant recipients was 49.1 ±10.6 years. Mean tacrolimus trough levels were 6.1 ±2.2 ng/ml and mean dose was 0.94 ±0.3 mg. Sepsis (27%) psychosis (20%), seizures (10%), and renal insufficiency (13%) were the most common adverse effects. Acute cellular rejection (ACR) was observed in 15% patients. Patients with sepsis had significantly high mean tacrolimus levels of 7.7 ±2.5 ng/ml versus 5.5 ±1.9 ng/ml (p=0.001). Mean tacrolimus trough levels in patients with ACR were significantly lower (4.05 ±1.6 ng/ml vs. 6.43 ±2.2ng/ml, p=0.003). None of the patients with a single tacrolimus trough level >10 ng/ml experienced ACR. Conclusion: A tacrolimus trough level between 5 to 7.5 ng/ml appears to be safe in Pakistani liver transplant recipients significantly minimising the risk of ACR and other adverse events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1048-1052
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan : JCPSP
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse effects
  • Immunosuppression
  • Liver transplant
  • Tacrolimus


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