The aims of this study were (i) to develop a population pharmacokinetic (PK) model of tacrolimus in a Mexican renal transplant paediatric population (n¿=¿53) and (ii) to test the influence of different covariates on its PK properties to facilitate dose individualization.
Population PK and variability parameters were estimated from whole blood drug concentration profiles obtained at steady-state using the non-linear mixed effect modelling software NONMEM® Version 7.2.
Tacrolimus PK profiles exhibited high inter-patient variability (IPV). A two compartment model with first order input and elimination described the tacrolimus PK profiles in the studied population. The relationship between CYP3A5 genotype and tacrolimus CL/F was included in the final model. CL/F in CYP3A5*1/*1 and *1/*3 carriers was approximately 2- and 1.5-fold higher than in CYP3A5*3/*3 carriers (non-expressers), respectively, and explained almost the entire IPV in CL/F. Other covariates retained in the final model were the tacrolimus dose and formulation type. Limustin® showed markedly lower concentrations than the rest of the formulations.
Population PK modelling of tacrolimus in paediatric renal transplant recipients identified the tacrolimus formulation type as a significant covariate affecting the blood concentrations and confirmed the previously reported significant effect of CYP3A5 genotype on CL/F. It allowed the design of a proposed dosage based on the final model that is expected to help to improve tacrolimus dosing.