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Prograf Dosage

Generic name: TACROLIMUS 0.5mg
Dosage form: capsule, gelatin coated; injection, solution

Medically reviewed on July 11, 2018.

General Instructions

PROGRAF capsules and PROGRAF Granules are not interchangeable or substitutable with other tacrolimus extended-release products. This is because rate of absorption following the administration of an extended-release tacrolimus product is not equivalent to that of an immediate-release tacrolimus drug product. Under- or overexposure to tacrolimus may result in graft rejection or other serious adverse reactions [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

PROGRAF should not be used without supervision of a physician with experience in immunosuppressive therapy.

Intravenous Formulation

Intravenous use is recommended for patients who cannot tolerate oral formulations, and conversion from intravenous to oral PROGRAF is recommended as soon as oral therapy can be tolerated to minimize the risk of anaphylactic reactions that occurred with injectables containing castor oil derivatives [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9)].

Patients receiving PROGRAF injection should be under continuous observation for at least the first 30 minutes following the start of the infusion and at frequent intervals thereafter. If signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis occur, the infusion should be stopped. An aqueous solution of epinephrine should be available at the bedside as well as a source of oxygen.

Oral Formulations (Capsules and Oral Suspension)

If patients are able to initiate therapy, the recommended starting doses should be initiated. Advise patients not to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while under treatment with PROGRAF [see Drug Interactions (7.2)].

Therapeutic drug monitoring is recommended for all patients receiving PROGRAF [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)].

Administration

PROGRAF may be taken with or without food. However, since the presence of food affects the bioavailability of PROGRAF, if taken with food, it should be taken consistently the same way each time [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Patients should not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice in combination with PROGRAF [see Drug Interactions (7.2)].

PROGRAF should not be used simultaneously with cyclosporine. PROGRAF or cyclosporine should be discontinued at least 24 hours before initiating the other. In the presence of elevated PROGRAF or cyclosporine concentrations, dosing with the other drug usually should be further delayed.

Dosing for Adult Kidney, Liver, or Heart Transplant Patients - Capsules and Injection

Capsules

The initial dose of PROGRAF capsules should be administered no sooner than 6 hours after transplantation in the liver and heart transplant patients. In kidney transplant patients, the initial dose of PROGRAF capsules may be administered within 24 hours of transplantation, but should be delayed until renal function has recovered.

The initial oral PROGRAF capsule dosage recommendations for adult patients with kidney, liver, or heart transplants and whole blood trough concentration range are shown in Table 1. Perform therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) to ensure that patients are within the ranges listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Summary of Initial Oral PROGRAF Capsules Dosing Recommendations and Whole Blood Trough Concentration Range in Adults
*
African-American patients may require higher doses compared to Caucasians (see Table 2)
In a second smaller trial, the initial dose of tacrolimus was 0.15-0.2 mg/kg/day and observed tacrolimus concentrations were 6-16 ng/mL during month 1-3 and 5-12 ng/mL during month 4-12 [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].

Patient Population

PROGRAF Capsules* Initial Oral Dosing

Whole Blood Trough Concentration Range

Kidney Transplant

With Azathioprine

0.2 mg/kg/day, divided in two doses, administered every 12 hours

Month 1-3: 7-20 ng/mL

Month 4-12: 5-15 ng/mL

With MMF/IL-2 receptor antagonist

0.1 mg/kg/day, divided in two doses, administered every 12 hours

Month 1-12: 4-11 ng/mL

Liver Transplant

With corticosteroids only

0.10-0.15 mg/kg/day, divided in two doses, administered every 12 hours

Month 1-12: 5-20 ng/mL

Heart Transplant

With azathioprine or MMF

0.075 mg/kg/day, divided in two doses, administered every 12 hours

Month 1-3: 10-20 ng/mL

Month ≥ 4: 5-15 ng/mL

Dosing should be titrated based on clinical assessments of rejection and tolerability. Lower PROGRAF dosages than the recommended initial dosage may be sufficient as maintenance therapy. Adjunct therapy with adrenal corticosteroids is recommended early post-transplant.

The data in kidney transplant patients indicate that the African-American patients required a higher dose to attain comparable trough concentrations compared to Caucasian patients (Table 2) [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Table 2. Comparative Dose and Trough Concentrations Based on Race

Time After Transplant

Caucasian

n = 114

African-American

n = 56

Dose

(mg/kg)

Trough Concentrations

(ng/mL)

Dose

(mg/kg)

Trough Concentrations (ng/mL)

Day 7

0.18

12.0

0.23

10.9

Month 1

0.17

12.8

0.26

12.9

Month 6

0.14

11.8

0.24

11.5

Month 12

0.13

10.1

0.19

11.0

Intravenous Injection
PROGRAF injection should be used only as a continuous intravenous infusion and should be discontinued as soon as the patient can tolerate oral administration. The first dose of PROGRAF capsules should be given 8-12 hours after discontinuing the intravenous infusion.

The recommended starting dose of PROGRAF injection is 0.03-0.05 mg/kg/day in kidney and liver transplant and 0.01 mg/kg/day in heart transplant given as a continuous intravenous infusion. Adult patients should receive doses at the lower end of the dosing range. Concomitant adrenal corticosteroid therapy is recommended early post-transplantation.

The whole blood trough concentration range described in Table 1 pertain to oral administration of PROGRAF only; while monitoring PROGRAF concentrations in patients receiving PROGRAF injection as a continuous intravenous infusion may have some utility, the observed concentrations will not represent comparable exposures to those estimated by the trough concentrations observed in patients on oral therapy.

Anaphylactic reactions have occurred with injectables containing castor oil derivatives, such as PROGRAF injection. Therefore, monitoring for signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis is recommended [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9)].

Dosing for Pediatric Kidney, Liver, and Heart Transplant Patients

Oral formulations (capsules or oral suspension)

Pediatric patients in general need higher tacrolimus doses compared to adults: the higher dose requirements may decrease as the child grows older. Recommendations for the initial oral dosing for pediatric transplant patients and whole blood trough concentration range are shown in Table 3. Perform TDM to ensure that patients are within the ranges listed in Table 3.

Table 3. Summary of Initial PROGRAF Capsule and PROGRAF Granules Dosing Recommendations and Whole Blood Trough Concentration Range in Children
*
See Clinical Pharmacology (12.3), PROGRAF Granules Pharmacokinetics in Pediatric Patients
See Clinical Studies (14.2), Liver Transplantation
0.1 mg/kg/day if cell depleting induction treatment is administered.

Patient Population

Initial PROGRAF Capsule and PROGRAF Granules Dosing

Whole Blood Trough Concentration Range

Pediatric kidney transplant patients*

0.3 mg/kg/day capsules or oral suspension, divided in two doses, administered every 12 hours

Month 1-12: 5-20 ng/mL

Pediatric liver transplant patients

0.15-0.2 mg/kg/day capsules or 0.2 mg/kg/day oral suspension, divided in two doses, administered every 12 hours

Month 1-12: 5-20 ng/mL

Pediatric heart transplant patients*

0.3 mg/kg/day capsules or oral suspension, divided in two doses, administered every 12 hours

Month 1-12: 5-20 ng/mL

For conversion of pediatric patients from PROGRAF Granules to PROGRAF capsules or from PROGRAF capsules to PROGRAF Granules, the total daily dose should remain the same. Following conversion from one formulation to another formulation of tacrolimus, therapeutic drug monitoring is recommended [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)]. If a patient is unable to receive an oral formulation, the patient may be started on PROGRAF injection. For pediatric liver transplant patients, the intravenous dose is 0.03-0.05 mg/kg/day.

Dosage Adjustment in Patients with Renal Impairment

Due to its potential for nephrotoxicity, consideration should be given to dosing PROGRAF at the lower end of the therapeutic dosing range in patients who have received a liver or heart transplant and have pre-existing renal impairment. Further reductions in dose below the targeted range may be required.

In kidney transplant patients with post-operative oliguria, the initial dose of PROGRAF should be administered no sooner than 6 hours and within 24 hours of transplantation, but may be delayed until renal function shows evidence of recovery [see Dosage and Administration (2.3), Warnings and Precautions (5.5), Use in Specific Populations (8.6), and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Dosage Adjustments in Patients with Hepatic Impairment

Due to the reduced clearance and prolonged half-life, patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child Pugh ≥ 10) may require lower doses of PROGRAF. Close monitoring of blood concentrations is warranted.

The use of PROGRAF in liver transplant recipients experiencing post-transplant hepatic impairment may be associated with increased risk of developing renal insufficiency related to high whole blood concentrations of tacrolimus. These patients should be monitored closely and dosage adjustments should be considered. Some evidence suggests that lower doses should be used in these patients [see Dosage and Administration (2.3), Warnings and Precautions (5.5), Use in Specific Populations (8.7), and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

Monitoring of tacrolimus blood concentrations in conjunction with other laboratory and clinical parameters is considered an essential aid to patient management for the evaluation of rejection, toxicity, dose adjustments, and compliance. Whole blood trough concentration range can be found in Table 1.

Factors influencing frequency of monitoring include but are not limited to hepatic or renal dysfunction, the addition or discontinuation of potentially interacting drugs and the post-transplant time. Blood concentration monitoring is not a replacement for renal and liver function monitoring and tissue biopsies. Data from clinical trials show that tacrolimus whole blood concentrations were most variable during the first week post-transplantation.
The relative risks of toxicity and efficacy failure are related to tacrolimus whole blood trough concentrations. Therefore, monitoring of whole blood trough concentrations is recommended to assist in the clinical evaluation of toxicity and efficacy failure.

Methods commonly used for the assay of tacrolimus include high-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometric detection (HPLC/MS/MS) and immunoassays. Immunoassays may react with metabolites as well as parent compound. Therefore, assay results obtained with immunoassays may have a positive bias relative to results of HPLC/MS. The bias may depend upon the specific assay and laboratory. Comparison of the concentrations in published literature to patient concentrations using the current assays must be made with detailed knowledge of the assay methods and biological matrices employed. Whole blood is the matrix of choice and specimens should be collected into tubes containing ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) anti-coagulant. Heparin anti-coagulation is not recommended because of the tendency to form clots on storage. Samples which are not analyzed immediately should be stored at room temperature or in a refrigerator and assayed within 7 days; see assay instructions for specifics. If samples are to be kept longer they should be deep frozen at -20° C. One study showed drug recovery > 90% for samples stored at -20° C for 6 months, with reduced recovery observed after 6 months.

Preparation and Administration Instructions of PROGRAF Injection for Pharmacists

Tacrolimus can cause fetal harm. Follow applicable special handling and disposal procedures1 [see How Supplied/ Storage and Handling (16.4)].

PROGRAF injection must be diluted with 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection or 5% Dextrose Injection to a concentration between 0.004 mg/mL and 0.02 mg/mL prior to use. Diluted infusion solution should be stored in glass or polyethylene containers and should be discarded after 24 hours. The diluted infusion solution should not be stored in a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) container due to decreased stability and the potential for extraction of phthalates. In situations where more dilute solutions are utilized (e.g., pediatric dosing, etc.), PVC-free tubing should likewise be used to minimize the potential for significant drug adsorption onto the tubing.

Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit.

Due to the chemical instability of tacrolimus in alkaline media, PROGRAF injection should not be mixed or co-infused with solutions of pH 9 or greater (e.g., ganciclovir or acyclovir).

Preparation and Administration Instructions of PROGRAF Granules

Tacrolimus can cause fetal harm. Follow applicable special handling and disposal procedures1 [see How Supplied/ Storage and Handling (16.4)].

The required dose for PROGRAF Granules is calculated based on the weight of the patient. Use the minimum whole number of packets that corresponds to the required morning or evening dose. If the morning or evening dose is not covered by the whole number of packets, use one additional 0.2 mg packet to round up the dose. Do not use tubing, syringes and other equipment (cups) containing PVC to prepare or administer tacrolimus products. Do not sprinkle PROGRAF Granules on food.

• To prepare the dose, empty the entire contents of each PROGRAF Granules packet into a glass cup. Check for any remaining granules in the packet(s) and empty these into the cup.
• Add 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 milliliters) of room temperature drinking water to the cup containing the PROGRAF Granules.
• Mix and administer the entire contents of the cup. The granules will not completely dissolve. The suspension should be given immediately after preparation.
• For younger patients, the suspension can be drawn up via a non-PVC oral syringe that will be dispensed with the prescription.
• The cup or syringe should be rinsed with the same quantity of water (15 to 30 milliliters) and given to the patient to ensure all of the medication is taken.
• The pharmacy must dispense with the Instructions for Use. Alert the patient to read the Instructions for Use.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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