The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the transplant drug tacrolimus (Prograf) for the prevention of organ rejection in adult and pediatric patients receiving lung transplants. This is the only immunosuppressant drug approved for this patient population.

Tacrolimus has been routinely prescribed to lung transplant recipients for the past 15 to 20 years and is “the primary calcineurin inhibitor used as the backbone of immunosuppression for lung transplants,” Joshua Diamond, MD, associate medical director of the Penn Lung Transplant Program at Penn Medicine, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, told Medscape Medical News in an interview.

The FDA originally approved tacrolimus in 1994 for the prevention of rejection in patients receiving liver transplants. The approval was expanded for use in preventing rejection in kidney and heart transplant recipients. This newest approval, announced July 16, comes after an observational study using lung transplant data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients and mortality information from the Social Security Administration.

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