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Case report
Use of phenytoin for treatment of tacrolimus toxicity with superimposed sepsis


A 40-year-old woman with a history of chronic graft-versus-host-disease on immunosuppression with tacrolimus presented to the hospital with somnolence, confusion and muscle cramps over a few days. She was found to have hypertension, hyperglycaemia and acute kidney injury with an elevated blood tacrolimus level of greater than 120 ng/mL (reference range 5–15 ng/mL). Discontinuation of tacrolimus with concomitant administration of intravenous phenytoin led to the successful reduction of elevated tacrolimus concentrations and the resolution of her symptoms. Tacrolimus is metabolised by the cytochrome P (CYP) 450 3A enzyme system, and utilisation of CYP 3A inducers to accelerate its clearance may be used as a successful therapy to treat tacrolimus toxicity.

  • malignant disease and immunosuppression
  • adult intensive care
  • toxicology
  • acute renal failure

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