The new immunosuppressive drug FK 506 was used from the outset with low doses of prednisone to treat 120 recipients of primary liver grafts and 20 more patients undergoing liver retransplantation. The patient survival rate after 2 to 8 months in the primary liver transplantation series is 93.3%, with original graft survival of 87.5%. Of the 20 patients in the hepatic retransplant series, 17 (85%) are living. Almost all of the surviving patients have good liver function. In addition 11 hearts, 2 double lungs, and a heart-lung have been transplanted under FK 506, with survival of all 14 patients. With all of the organ systems so far tested, including the kidney (which has been reported elsewhere), rejection usually has been controlled without additional drugs and with lower average steroid doses than in the past. Nephrotoxicity has been observed, but not to an alarming degree, and there has been a notable absence of hypertension. There is a suggestion that serum cholesterol may be lowered by FK 506, but this is unproved. Although the adverse reactions of FK 506 and the immunosuppressive mechanisms resemble those of cyclosporine, our preliminary observations suggest that FK 506 may have a more advantageous therapeutic index.
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