Liposomal Formulation Eliminates Acute Toxicity and Pump Incompatibility of Parenteral Cyclosporine

Scott A. Gruber, Suresh Venkataram, Daniel M. Canafax, Robert J. Cipolle, Larry Bowers, Dennis Elsberry, Mary McGuiggan, Patricia E. Hynes, James A. Ritz, Fred H. Gould, Arthur Matas, William J.M. Hrushesky, Yueh Erh Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The currently available intravenous dosage form of cyclosporine (CSA), Sandimmune I.V., contains the vehicle, Cremophor EL, which has been implicated in producing anaphylactic reactions in man and animals. This formulation also leaches through silicone tubing, an important component of some automatic drug delivery devices, causing pump dysfunction. In an attempt to develop a less toxic and pump-compatible formulation of CSA, suitable for intrarenal infusion in a canine transplant model, we compared the acute toxicity, pharmacokinetics, and pump compatibility of emulsified (CSA/emulsion) and liposomal (CSA/liposomes) CSA preparations with those of Sandimmune I.V. and CSA dissolved in ethanol vehicle (CSA/alcohol) in healthy, unoperated dogs. Animals receiving Sandimmune I.V. demonstrated marked acute toxicity despite progressive 10-fold dose reduction and >50-fold prolongation of infusion duration. One of two animals receiving CSA/emulsion and both dogs receiving emulsion vehicle alone exhibited a moderately severe reaction, while five of seven dogs receiving CSA/alcohol demonstrated immediate, mild reactions. No discernible adverse reactions occurred in any animal receiving CSA/liposomes. Systemic disposition of CSA/alcohol and CSA/liposomes was similar. In contrast to the liposomal vehicle, the emulsion vehicle produced a marked, early weight gain and substantial decrease in tensile strength of the pump tubing, both of which would adversely affect pump function. These results provide the first description of liposomal CSA toxicology and pharmacokinetics in a large animal model and may lead to the successful development of a less toxic parenteral CSA formulation for systemic and local pump-based administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-607
Number of pages7
JournalPharmaceutical Research: An Official Journal of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1989


  • acute toxicity
  • cyclosporine
  • liposome
  • pharmacokinetics


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