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Clotrimazole increases tacrolimus blood levels: a drug interaction in kidney transplant patients.

Author(s): Vasquez E, Pollak R, Benedetti E

Affiliation(s): Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Publication date & source: 2001-04, Clin Transplant., 15(2):95-9.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

In order to substantiate a previous case report of a drug interaction between tacrolimus and clotrimazole, we randomly assigned tacrolimus-treated renal allograft recipients to therapy with either clotrimazole or nystatin for oral thrush prophylaxis immediately following transplantation. Patients receiving other agents known to interact with cytochrome P450 were excluded from the study. The clotrimazole group consisted of 17 patients and the nystatin group, which served as the control group, consisted of 18 patients. An oral loading dose (approximately 0.3 mg/kg) of tacrolimus was given pre-operatively. Post-transplant, tacrolimus (approximately 0.15 mg/kg) was orally administered twice daily. Clotrimazole therapy consisted of a 10-mg troche administered three times daily. Nystatin therapy consisted of the oral suspension (5 mL) administered as a 'swish and swallow' four times daily. We evaluated tacrolimus trough blood levels and tacrolimus doses on days 1, 3, 5, and 7 following transplantation. On post-transplant day 1, mean tacrolimus trough levels did not differ between clotrimazole- and nystatin-treated patients. Mean tacrolimus blood trough levels were significantly higher in clotrimazole-treated patients on days 3, 5, and 7 post-transplant, 42+/-14, 53+/-7, and 33+/-17 ng/mL, respectively, compared to 15+/-8, 15+/-7, and 14+/-6 ng/mL in nystatin-treated patients (p<0.05). The mean tacrolimus dose was significantly lower in the clotrimazole group by day 7 post-transplant (p<0.05). We conclude that clotrimazole therapy may cause a significant rise in tacrolimus trough blood levels. Recognition of this potential drug interaction is essential to minimize tacrolimus-associated toxicities in the early post-transplant period.

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