, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 743-749
Date: 27 Dec 2012

Excess fluid distribution affects tacrolimus absorption in peritoneal dialysis patients

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Excess fluid distribution is a common disorder in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients. Tacrolimus malabsorption may also occur in PD patients, and may lead to acute allograft rejection after transplantation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between tacrolimus pharmacokinetics and excess fluid distribution according to pre-transplant dialysis modality.


We retrospectively analyzed 41 adult living-donor kidney transplantations, including nine PD patients and 32 hemodialysis (HD) patients. We examined tacrolimus pharmacokinetics in the peri-operative period and determined the association between the tacrolimus absorption rate and body weight reduction. The absorption efficacy of tacrolimus was evaluated as the dose-normalized tacrolimus absorption rate. Tacrolimus concentrations in PD effluent were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography.


The tacrolimus absorption rate on the day before kidney transplantation tended to be lower in PD patients than in HD patients; however, the rate improved after kidney transplantation and was similar in both groups of patients. The peak tacrolimus concentration time was later in PD patients than in HD patients. The body weight reduction after kidney transplantation was greater in PD patients than in HD patients, and was significantly associated with the change in tacrolimus absorption rate (p = 0.04, r = 0.32). Only 0.002 % of the oral tacrolimus dose was removed by PD itself.


Excess fluid distribution in PD patients appears to contribute to tacrolimus malabsorption rather than PD itself. We should consider the risk of tacrolimus malabsorption in patients with possible excess fluid distribution, particularly in PD patients.