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TACROLIMUS

About the test
What is this test done for?
The serum tacrolimus is a test to determine the level of drug tacrolimus in the blood in order to evaluate the dosage and understand the presence of toxicity.
Why is it Done?
The tacrolimus test is used to measure the amount of the drug in the blood and to determine whether the concentration has reached a therapeutic level and to ensure that it is not above the toxic level. Tacrolimus in high doses can lead to kidney damage, so monitoring the levels especially in kidney transplant cases is crucial. Tacrolimus is also known to decrease the immunity of the body and thereby increase the risk of developing bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
When should it be performed?

The test is ordered primarily in the beginning of the therapy when the dose has to be adjusted. The test is also done if there are side effects and toxicity or, in presence of symptoms of organ rejection like:

  • Kidney damage
  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Hyperkalemia (elevated potassium levels in blood)-a type of electrolyte disturbance
  • Elevated heartbeats
  • Blurred vision.
How is it done
A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm. It is done 12 hours after the administration of the last dose.
Results
  • The normal range value in adults is between 5 to 15 ng/mL. If the result is higher than the therapeutic level, it suggests kidney damage, may include risk of toxicity and also nerve damage.
  • If the levels are below the therapeutic levels it may lead to probable rejection of the transplanted organ.
Other Tests
The routine check for kidneys by means of a kidney function test is always required. Also since tacrolimus can bring about changes in QT segment of an electrocardiograph getting one recorded is important.
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