A few weeks ago I had shingles. I was put on acyclovir 800mg 5x a day. Then, from different doctors, they kept telling me that's a high dose for a kidney transplant patient as it can damage it. I spoke to my nephrologist and he didnt seem concerned at all and told me to take them as prescribed by my primary care doctor. I had lab drawn after about 2-3 weeks of finishing the medication. I kept worrying about my kidney function through the entire thing. Just got my results and my creatinine is 1.77. Usually my baseline is 1.5-1.6. Any info or advice on your experience of acyclovir or similar experience would be much appreciated. Did I take the wrong dose
Acyclovir and kidney transplant - Kidney Transplant
I am sorry you are worried. I haven’t taken the drug myself but wanted to assure you that the change in creatinine is likely temporary. Most new drug interferes with our metabolism which is reflected in markers like creatinine. The degree of change you saw is within the normal variation so I don’t see evidence for a problem unless it keeps going up. Try not to worry especially if your nephrologist didn’t express any concern.
Thanks Lisa. Yes, I'm trying not to worry but its scaring me since I cant even keep tabs on it with all the coronavirus going on. Actually my creatinine has steadily been rising the past 4-6 months. I'm thinking it could have been tacrolimus that's causing the rise since it rose significantly around 7-8 when my baseline is 5. I've been hoping it would taper off by now but it went from 1.58 to 1.66 and now 1.77. This did happen to me once 6 years ago where I had it creep up to 1.97 only to go back to 1.4-1.5. I hope that's all it is and nothing more
”baseline is 5”？ Baseline of what?
Yes. It's a little complicated, but according to UCSD tacro level, they always wanted me around 7-8 which would typically increase my creatinine. My primary nephrologist has been fine for my tacro to be around 5. Ever since tacro lvl has rose to 8-7ish, my creatinine has been on the rise again. So I've been thinking it's the tacro lvl but also wanted see if acyclovir could have damaged my kidney or increased creatinine levels.
The reason they wanted your trough level to be above 7 is because you are taking only 2 drugs (3 is the protocol). It is not common for trough level of 8 to induce nephrotoxicity. As long as your creatinine is stable within the normal variation your graft is healthy. Another factor to consider is the underlying cause of your kidney failure which I believe you said is unknown? Have they ever tried to figure it out?
Acyclovir can increase Tacrolimus Levels and cause nephrotoxicity
so high dose Acyclovir should be avoided in transplant patients
For patients within one year post transplant when tacrolimus dose is on the high end, yes. For patients out many years, tacrolimus dose is generally at trough level of less than 8, even with increased Cmax and AUC the level isn't high enough to cause acute renal toxicity.
4 years post I also experienced shingles. I take 800mg 1 time per day. I certainly cannot speak to dosing or why your practitioner would prescribed what they did but keep asking questions. Was the nephrologist you spoke with on your transplant team? I clear everything with my transplant team. My creatinine initially post was .86 and now ranges between 1.09 and 1.17. Its a bit different every time I have tests. I can tell you that I did not realize they meant this was permanent and when the shingles were gone, I stopped taking the med. This was a mistake. Shingles came back worse than before.
Wow, so how do you know when is safe to stop?
My Drs advised I will have to take it forever since I am immuno-suppressed. Or I will continue to have shingles outbreaks.
Have you noticed an increase of tacrolimus trough?
No, in fact mine is always so low that the Drs panic. But I think its just where my trough runs, and they have finally calmed a bit when they see the numbers. They want me at or near a 10 for TAC readings. I'm a steady 5 at every test. And this is when taking 4mg AM and 4mg PM.
Wow you are a super metabolizer!
I am at about 5 if I take 1.5mg a day!
At first any time you are sick it can effect your creatinine and your GFR.
When I had my transplant I never had CMV, but my deceased 16 year old donor had. I had to take one of the viral antibiotics, not sure if it was acyclovir or a different one, to protect my new kidney. I was on it for 3 months. I am 20 years post transplant now with a creatinine of 0.9-1.1.
Take care and see what you labs in a couple of weeks.
Perhaps you should speak to your nephrologist about the shingles vaccine. My nephrologist told me that vaccines are fine, flu, shingles pneumonia, as long as they are not live vaccines. I am one year out so my creatinine levels have typically fluctuated over the past year. My hydration level usually has an effect
My mom had the first of two shots and she couldn't handle it. Shes usually very good at taking meds, vaccines, anything. So I'm afraid to have one done lol
What reactions did she get?
Thank you for the info here, I have been looking for it online. I also take the meds from edrugstore.com/valacyclovir/ for it. What do you think?
Reason you are taking Acyclovir - probably you have a high viral load of BKV or CMV, in my case Acyclovir was discontinued after 6 months as the I had a few back to back viral load readings, which were lower than the minimum of the stipulated range, Best Doctor to make this determination is a Transplant nephrologist and not a general nephrologist or a PCP.
Ah, I had shingles so I took the recommended dose. Its all good now thank you for your feedback!