Newer form of 'gold standard' drug helps kidney transplant patients do better in long term

Kidney transplant patients fare better over the long term with newer form of "gold standard" drug, study finds

ANN ARBOR, MI - A reformulation of the "gold standard" drug against kidney transplant rejection not only costs less and gets absorbed better - it also helps transplant recipients keep their new organs longer.

That's the finding of a new University of Michigan Health System study that answers a question pondered by transplant physicians and tens of thousands of transplant patients for nearly six years: was there any long-term advantage to using one form of cyclosporine or the other?

The new data suggest there was indeed. Patients who took the microemulsion form of the drug, introduced in 1995, had a significantly lower risk of suffering chronic failure of their transplanted kidney than those who used the older form of the same drug. The results, from one of the largest studies of its kind, will be presented May 14 in Chicago at Transplant 2001, the annual meeting of the American Society of Transplantation.

"As the pharmaceutical industry continues to introduce new forms of established medications, we who care for patients must constantly ask the question, 'Is this really an improvement overall?'," says Bruce Kaplan, M.D., co-author of the study and associate professor of nephrology in the U-M Medical School and co-medical director of renal transplantation at UMHS. "In the case of cyclosporine, it appears the answer is yes all around."

The study looked back at the experiences of 29,786 people who received kidney transplants between 1994 and 1997, and whose medical histories were recorded anonymously by the United States Renal Data System.

Kaplan worked with co-author Herwig-Ulf Meier-Kriesche, M.D., an assistant professor of nephrology at UMMS, to sort out which had been treated with the older and newer forms of cyclosporine, and how they fared during the first four years after their transplant.

Since the new form

Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System

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