Mycophenolic acid exposure after administration of mycophenolate mofetil in the presence and absence of cyclosporin in renal transplant recipients

Dirk R Kuypers, Henrik Ekberg, Josep Grinyó, Björn Nashan, Flavio Vincenti, Paul Snell, Richard D Mamelok, Rene M Bouw
Clinical Pharmacokinetics 2009, 48 (5): 329-41

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The pharmacokinetics of mycophenolic acid (MPA) are complex, with large interindividual variability over time. There are also well documented interactions with cyclosporin, and assessment of MPA exposure is therefore necessary when reducing or stopping cyclosporin therapy. Here we report on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic behaviour of MPA in renal transplant patients on standard dose, reduced dose and no cyclosporin.

STUDY DESIGN: The CAESAR study, a prospective 12-month study in primary renal allograft recipients, was designed to determine whether mycophenolate mofetil-based regimens containing either low-dose cyclosporin or low-dose cyclosporin withdrawn by 6 months could minimize nephrotoxicity and improve renal function without an increase in acute rejection compared with a mycophenolate mofetil-based regimen containing standard-dose cyclosporin.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A subset of patients from the CAESAR study contributed to this pharmacokinetic analysis of MPA exposure. Blood samples were taken over one dosing interval on day 7 and at months 3, 7 and 12 post-transplantation. The sampling time points were predose, 20, 40 and 75 minutes and 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 12 hours after mycophenolate mofetil dosing. Assessments included plasma concentrations of MPA and mycophenolic acid glucuronide (MPAG) and cyclosporin trough concentrations. The area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) from 0 to 12 hours (AUC(12)) for MPA was the primary pharmacokinetic parameter, and the AUC(12) for MPAG was the secondary parameter.

RESULTS: In total, 536 de novo renal allograft recipients were randomized in the CAESAR study. Of these, 114 patients were entered into the pharmacokinetic substudy and 110 patients contributed to the pharmacokinetic analysis. There was a rapid rise in MPA concentrations (median time to peak concentration 0.72-1.25 hours). At day 7 and month 3, the MPA AUC(12) values were similar in the cyclosporin withdrawal and low-dose cyclosporin groups (patients with the same cyclosporin target concentrations to month 6), while at 7 and 12 months, the values in the cyclosporin withdrawal group were higher than in the low-dose group (19.9% and 30.2% higher, respectively). MPA AUC(12) values in the standard-dose cyclosporin group were lower than in the other groups at all time points and increased over time. At all time points, the MPA peak plasma concentration was similar in all groups, and the MPAG concentrations rose more slowly than MPA concentrations. The ratio of the AUC from 6 to 12 hours/AUC(12) suggests that an increasing AUC in the cyclosporin withdrawal group is due to an increase in the enterohepatic recirculation.

CONCLUSION: These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that cyclosporin inhibits the biliary secretion and/or hepatic extraction of MPAG, leading to a reduced rate of enterohepatic recirculation of MPA. Several concurrent mechanisms, such as cyclosporin-induced changes in renal tubular MPAG excretion and enhanced elimination of free MPA through competitive albumin binding with MPAG, can also contribute to the altered MPAG pharmacokinetics observed in the presence and absence of cyclosporin.

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