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Pill may save organ patients' lives

organ transplant
Photo: Organ transplant
A new pill could help save the lives of organ transplant patients who are at risk of rejection.

Lives could be saved by a new once-daily pill for organ transplant patients, according to a new study.

The anti-rejection drug Advagraf was shown to improve the survival of transplanted livers over three years by eight per cent compared with standard treatment.

Researchers looked at data on 528 patients given Advagraf and almost 4,000 treated with the twice-daily pill tacrolimus, a widely used immunosuppressant.

Advagraf is a new slow-release formulation of tacrolimus that only has to be taken once a day.

Dr Varuna Aluvihare, from King's College London, said: "A graft survival benefit means better patient survival, meaning that for every 13 patients treated with Advagraf, we could potentially save one life when compared to people being treated with the usual twice-daily tacrolimus."
Each year 880 liver transplants are carried out in the UK, which equates to 70 lives saved if every patient was given Advagraf instead of the usual formulation tacrolimus.

The trial, published in the American Journal of Transplantation, involved a retrospective analysis of data collected over a five-year period between 2008 and 2012.

Transplanted organ survival rate was the primary outcome measured.

Andre Langford, from the British Liver Trust, said the results were promising.

"We know that, compared to other major diseases, liver disease mortality is increasing at an alarming rate over the past 30 years and is the UK's third commonest cause of premature death.

"Although liver transplant is a life saver for some, it is concerning that around a quarter of patients will still die within five years of their transplant."


Copyright AAP 2015

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