Corticosteroids have represented the mainstay for immunosuppression since the beginning of organ transplantation. However, these agents may be responsible of a number of invalidating and even life-threatening side effects. After the introduction of cyclosporine, some randomized trials have been attempted to avoid or withdraw corticosteroids. Meta-analyses of these studies showed that acute rejection was more frequent in patients who eliminated steroids than in patients who continued steroids. However, although graft survival was not affected by steroid avoidance, an increased risk of graft failure was reported in patients with late withdrawal of steroids. Only one multicenter trial provided a long-term follow-up of patients treated with the old formulation of cyclosporine. That study showed that, in spite of a higher incidence of rejection, in patients with an early avoidance of steroids, the 9-year graft survival rate was similar to that observed in patients given cyclosporine and steroids but with reduced risks of cardiovascular, ocular, and bone complications. A more recent study with everolimus and low-dose cyclosporine showed that the 3-year patient and graft survival rates were similar in patients who stopped steroids within 1 week after transplantation and in patients who continued low doses of prednisone. The available data indicate that an early elimination of corticosteroids is feasible today in many renal transplant recipients. A steroid-sparing strategy may reduce the side effects and improve the compliance of transplant recipients.
|Number of pages||3|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2005|
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