Drug-Drug Interaction in a Kidney Transplant Recipient Receiving HIV Salvage Therapy and Tacrolimus
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Concomitant use of immunosuppressive agents and antiretroviral drugs may lead to complex drug-drug interactions. The calcineurin inhibitor tacrolimus is metabolized by cytochrome P-450 3A4 (encoded by the CYP3A4 gene) and is a substrate of P-glycoprotein (encoded by the ABCB1 gene). Both pathways can be inhibited by protease inhibitors (PIs). The reduction in first-pass and postabsorptive metabolism of tacrolimus by PIs can lead to extreme prolongation of the elimination half-life and significantly increase tacrolimus trough levels. In a patient with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated focal segmental glomerulosclerosis leading to kidney cadaveric transplantation, HIV salvage therapy was started with the new PI darunavir and boosted with ritonavir, another PI. The reduction in first-pass and postabsorptive metabolism of tacrolimus by PIs led to a dramatic increase in tacrolimus trough levels and extreme prolongation of the elimination half-life. Trough levels of tacrolimus levels were as high as 106.7 ng/mL. A decrease in tacrolimus dosage to a single dose of 0.5 mg/wk, corresponding to 3.5% of the usual dose, enabled maintenance of stable tacrolimus trough levels. Our case highlights that coadministration of a PI and tacrolimus is feasible through intense reduction in dose and prolongation of the dosing interval of the calcineurin inhibitor. Complex drug interactions may become more frequent because more HIV-infected patients are undergoing transplantation and newer HIV drugs are being used. Close monitoring and excellent adherence are mandatory to avoid the risk of harm for the graft and patient.
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