Tailored Rabbit Antithymocyte Globulin Induction Dosing for Kidney Transplantation.

Document Type


Publication Date



Nephrology & Transplantation, Pharmacy

Journal Title

Transplant Direct

MeSH Headings

Kidney Transplantation, Antilymphocyte Serum, Graft Rejection


Background: Rabbit antithymocyte globulin (rATG) is the most widely used kidney transplant induction immunotherapy in the United States. It was recently Food and Drug Administration approved for this indication with typical dose recommendations of 1.5 mg/kg for up to 7 days given via a central line.

Methods: We theorized that reduced rATG dosing when compared with conventional dosing (6-10.5 mg/kg) is safe and effective, leading to development of a risk-stratified treatment protocol. Five-year data from a retrospective cohort of 224 adult kidney transplants (2008-2013) with follow-up through 2015 is presented. Cumulative rATG doses of 3 mg/kg were administered peripherally to nonsensitized living donor recipients, 4.5 mg/kg to nonsensitized deceased donor recipients. A subset of higher immunologic risk recipients (defined as history of prior transplant, panel reactive antibody greater than 20%, or flow cytometry crossmatch positivity) received 6 mg/kg.

Results: There were no differences in patient or graft survival between the 3 groups. One-year rejection rates in the first 2 groups were 8.3% and 8.8%, respectively, comparable to contemporaneous rates reported to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. Dose tailoring permitted substantial cost savings estimated at US $1 091 502. Mean length of stay fell by almost 3 days as the protocol was refined. There were no episodes of phlebitis. Infection rates were comparable with those reported to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

Conclusions: The novel findings of the current study include peripheral administration, reduced dosing, favorable safety, excellent allograft outcomes, and clear associative data regarding reduced costs and length of stay.



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