Combined immunosuppression with cyclosporine (Neoral) and SDZ RAD in non-human primate lung transplantation: Systematic pharmacokinetic-based trials to improve efficacy and tolerability TRANSPLANTATION Hausen, B., Ikonen, T., Briffa, N., Berry, G. J., Christians, U., Robbins, R. C., Hook, L., Serkova, N., Benet, L. Z., Schuler, W., Morris, R. E. 2000; 69 (1): 76-86


We studied the efficacy and tolerability of combined immunosuppressive therapy with cyclosporine A microemulsion (Neoral) plus the macrolide SDZ RAD 40-0 (2-hydroxyethyl) rapamycin (RAD) in a stringent cynomolgus monkey lung graft model in comparison with cyclosporine or SDZ RAD monotherapy.Thirty-nine cynomolgus monkeys received mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) mismatched unilateral lung transplants. Immunosuppressants were administered orally as single daily doses. The observation period was 28 days and follow-up included serial trough blood drug concentrations measured by high performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, blood analyses, chest radiographs, open lung biopsies, as well as tissue drug concentrations and graft histology at necropsy.Graft biopsies in monkeys treated with vehicle (n=4), Neoral (day 1-7: 150 mg/kg/day; day 8-28: 100 mg/kg/day; n=6; mean +/- SE trough level (MTL): 292+/-17 ng/ml) or SDZ RAD monotherapy (1.5 mg/kg/day; n=6; MTL: 15+/-1 ng/ml) showed severe rejection. Coadministration in two transplant monkeys of Neoral (150/100 mg/kg/day) and SDZ RAD (1.5 mg/kg/day) caused their early death. In both animals, SDZ RAD blood levels were more than 5-fold higher than under monotherapy (MTL: 82+/-18 ng/ml). Simultaneous administration (n=6) of Neoral (150/100 mg/kg/day; MTL: 217+/-16 ng/ml) and SDZ RAD (0.3 mg/kg/day; MTL: 24+/-2 ng/ml) improved graft outcome (mild rejection). Side effects included renal failure (n=2) and seizures (n=1). Three monkeys survived to day 28. In this group the MTL for cyclosporin was 143+/-13 and for RAD 38+/-3. Staggered treatment completely prevented rejection in four of six grafts. However, five of six monkeys had moderate to severe diarrhea. In a concentration-controlled trial of simultaneously administered Neoral and SDZ RAD in transplant monkeys (target SDZ RAD MTL: 20-40 ng/ml; cyclosporine MTL: 100-200 ng/ml) all six monkeys survived with improved drug tolerability and an average biopsy score of mild rejection.Combination of orally administered SDZ RAD and Neoral showed excellent immunosuppressive efficacy in a stringent lung transplant model. The drug interaction and the narrow therapeutic index of this drug combination required careful dose adjustments to optimize tolerability and efficacy.

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