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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Mycophenolic acid versus azathioprine as primary immunosuppression for kidney transplant recipients

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, December 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (79th percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

Mentioned by

9 tweeters
1 Facebook page


75 Dimensions

Readers on

189 Mendeley
Mycophenolic acid versus azathioprine as primary immunosuppression for kidney transplant recipients
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, December 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd007746.pub2
Pubmed ID

Martin Wagner, Amy K Earley, Angela C Webster, Christopher H Schmid, Ethan M Balk, Katrin Uhlig


Modern immunosuppressive regimens after kidney transplantation usually use a combination of two or three agents of different classes to prevent rejection and maintain graft function. Most frequently, calcineurin-inhibitors (CNI) are combined with corticosteroids and a proliferation-inhibitor, either azathioprine (AZA) or mycophenolic acid (MPA). MPA has largely replaced AZA as a first line agent in primary immunosuppression, as MPA is believed to be of stronger immunosuppressive potency than AZA. However, treatment with MPA is more costly, which calls for a comprehensive assessment of the comparative effects of the two drugs. This review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) aimed to look at the benefits and harms of MPA versus AZA in primary immunosuppressive regimens after kidney transplantation. Both agents were compared regarding their efficacy for maintaining graft and patient survival, prevention of acute rejection, maintaining graft function, and their safety, including infections, malignancies and other adverse events. Furthermore, we investigated potential effect modifiers, such as transplantation era and the concomitant immunosuppressive regimen in detail. We searched Cochrane Kidney and Transplant's Specialised Register (to 21 September 2015) through contact with the Trials' Search Co-ordinator using search terms relevant to this review. All RCTs about MPA versus AZA in primary immunosuppression after kidney transplantation were included, without restriction on language or publication type. Two authors independently determined study eligibility, assessed risk of bias and extracted data from each study. Statistical analyses were performed using the random-effects model and the results were expressed as risk ratio (RR) for dichotomous outcomes and mean difference (MD) for continuous outcomes with 95% confidence intervals (CI). We included 23 studies (94 reports) that involved 3301 participants. All studies tested mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), an MPA, and 22 studies reported at least one outcome relevant for this review. Assessment of methodological quality indicated that important information on factors used to judge susceptibility for bias was infrequently and inconsistently reported.MMF treatment reduced the risk for graft loss including death (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.67 to 1.0) and for death-censored graft loss (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.99, P < 0.05). No statistically significant difference for MMF versus AZA treatment was found for all-cause mortality (16 studies, 2987 participants: RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.70 to 1.29). The risk for any acute rejection (22 studies, 3301 participants: RR 0.65, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.73, P < 0.01), biopsy-proven acute rejection (12 studies, 2696 participants: RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.68) and antibody-treated acute rejection (15 studies, 2914 participants: RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.65, P < 0.01) were reduced in MMF treated patients. Meta-regression analyses suggested that the magnitude of risk reduction of acute rejection may be dependent on the control rate (relative risk reduction (RRR) 0.34, 95% CI 0.10 to 1.09, P = 0.08), AZA dose (RRR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.01, P = 0.10) and the use of cyclosporin A micro-emulsion (RRR 1.27, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.65, P = 0.07). Pooled analyses failed to show a significant and meaningful difference between MMF and AZA in kidney function measures.Data on malignancies and infections were sparse, except for cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections. The risk for CMV viraemia/syndrome (13 studies, 2880 participants: RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.32) was not statistically significantly different between MMF and AZA treated patients, whereas the likelihood of tissue-invasive CMV disease was greater with MMF therapy (7 studies, 1510 participants: RR 1.70, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.61). Adverse event profiles varied: gastrointestinal symptoms were more likely in MMF treated patients and thrombocytopenia and elevated liver enzymes were more common in AZA treatment. MMF was superior to AZA for improvement of graft survival and prevention of acute rejection after kidney transplantation. These benefits must be weighed against potential harms such as tissue-invasive CMV disease. However, assessment of the evidence on safety outcomes was limited due to rare events in the observation periods of the studies (e.g. malignancies) and inconsistent reporting and definitions (e.g. infections, adverse events). Thus, balancing benefits and harms of the two drugs remains a major task of the transplant physician to decide which agent the individual patient should be started on.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 9 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 189 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Unknown 187 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 35 19%
Student > Ph. D. Student 25 13%
Student > Bachelor 23 12%
Researcher 15 8%
Student > Doctoral Student 14 7%
Other 38 20%
Unknown 39 21%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 72 38%
Nursing and Health Professions 20 11%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 14 7%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 7 4%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 4 2%
Other 21 11%
Unknown 51 27%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 6. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 29 April 2016.
All research outputs
of 12,527,219 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 8,923 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 345,395 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 221 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,527,219 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 78th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 8,923 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 21.2. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 53% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 345,395 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 79% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 221 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 34th percentile – i.e., 34% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.