How to convert from traditional cyclosporine to the microemulsion formulation in stable renal transplant patients?

Flavio Gaspari, Norberto Perico, Roberto Pisoni, Maria Franca Anedda, Orietta Signorini, Raffaele Caruso, Eliana Gotti, Giuseppe Remuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How to convert from traditional cyclosporine (CsA) to the microemulsion formulation in stable renal transplant patients is still a matter of debate. The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of changeover from traditional Sandimmune to Neoral formulation at two dose-ratio conversions on CsA pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability particularly in terms of renal function. Thirty outpatients regularly followed at our Clinical Research Center were randomized to 1:1 or 1:0.75 dose-ratio conversion and assigned to the two groups according to a comparable renal function and time post-transplant. Patients underwent CsA pharmacokinetic evaluation and renal function measurements (GFR and RPF) before, at day 15, and at month 6 after conversion to Neoral formulation. More consistent CsA concentration-time profiles with Neoral than traditional formulation were obtained at the two time points of evaluation after conversion. At 1:1 dose-ratio conversion an increased absorption rate, reflected by a shorter time to maximum blood CsA concentration (T(max)), and a greater bioavailability, as shown by an increase in the peak CsA concentration (C(max)) and the 12-h exposure to drug defined by the area under the time-concentration curve (AUC(0→12 h)) was found 15 d and 6 months after conversion to Neoral formulation. A similar AUC as compared with traditional Sandimmune was observed in those patients randomized to receive a 25% lower dose of Neoral formulation. All of patients defined as 'low' absorbers became 'high' absorbers as early as 15 d after conversion to Neoral formulation at 1:1 or 0.75 dose-ratio regimen. Overall mean GFR was unchanged in both conversion regimens during the 6 months of follow-up. However, there was a tendency to lower GFR even in some patients randomized to 1:0.75 conversion but mostly in those with 1:1 conversion. A limited sampling strategy utilizing three blood samples (0, 1, 3 h post-dosing of Neoral formulation) provided an excellent correlation with actual drug exposure (r = 0.977). Enhanced CsA absorption with the microemulsion formulation results in increased drug exposure that may reduce GFR in some patients who undergo 1:1 dose-ratio conversion. The Neoral formulation that permits a more effective, consistent, and predicatble absorption of CsA may represent a great advantage in order to prevent acute and possibly chronic rejections. Efforts have to be made to find optimal therapeutic range and dosing schedule for this new formulation, which may be facilitated by using the limited sampling approach to predict AUC after only three-point sampling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-390
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1998


  • Cyclosporine
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Renal function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Immunology


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