Does tacrolimus use have a sexual dysfunctional effect in women after renal transplant?
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Background. Tacrolimus, one of the immunosuppressive agents, is used to prevent tissue rejection in renal transplant recipients, but the relationship between the plasma concentrations of tacrolimus and female sexual dysfunction has not yet been elucidated. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of tacrolimus use on sexual dysfunction of women after renal transplant. Methods. Twenty-one female patients who successfully underwent transplant and were treated with tacrolimus were enrolled as the patient group, while 21 patients presented to the obstetrics and gynecology clinic for different reasons were included in the study as the control group. The Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Female Sexual Function Index were applied. Plasma concentrations of tacrolimus were simultaneously measured in transplant recipients. Results. The scores of all scales did not differ among groups in terms of depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction. All transplant recipients had a plasma concentration of tacrolimus in the range of 3 to 7 ng/L. When the patients were compared by the scores of depression and anxiety scales, the drug levels showed no effect on the depression, anxiety, and female sexual functions. Conclusions. Sexual dysfunction appears to be ameliorated in women because of the hormone levels after renal transplant at the end of the dialysis process, hence enhancing the quality of life. Normal plasma levels of tacrolimus, which is known to cause sexual dysfunction, could not change this result.