Research Article

Serious renal transplant rejection and adrenal hypofunction after gradual withdrawal of prednisolone two years after transplantation.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 07 June 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:1337
  1. R B Naik,
  2. J Chakraborty,
  3. J English,
  4. V Marks,
  5. M Slapak,
  6. H A Lee


    Ten patients with stable renal function two years after transplantation had their sole immunosuppressive treatment (oral prednisolone 10 mg daily) withdrawn by reducing the daily dose by 1 mg at monthly intervals. Plasma prednisolone concentration, cortisol concentration, creatinine clearance, and serum creatinine concentration were measured in all patients, and the adrenal response to corticotrophin was determined in five by measuring plasma cortisol concentrations before and after tetracosactrin injection. No episodes of rejection occurred in patients taking over 7 mg prednisolone daily. Although three patients apparently required only minimal immunosuppressive treatment (less than 5 mg daily) the remainder suffered episodes of rejection at daily doses below 7 mg. There was a tenuous association between rejection and low plasma cortisol concentration, but neither the pattern of plasma prednisolone concentrations nor the response to tetracosactrin were related to episodes of rejection. Reducing the daily dose of oral prednisolone to under 7 mg should not be attempted in patients with renal transplants unless there are extenuating circumstances.