Complications and Monitoring of OKT3 Therapy

J. Richard Thistlethwaite, Joan K. Stuart, James T. Mayes, A. O. Gaber, Steve Woodle, Marquerite R. Buckingham, Frank P. Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


Complications of OKT3 therapy were studied in 122 treatment episodes in renal allograft recipients (83 for rejection treatment, 39 for immunosuppression induction). A febrile first-dose reaction to OKT3 was common; no severe pulmonary complications were encountered. Other toxicities of OKT3 therapy were observed later in the treatment course. Most severe were the occurrence of aseptic meningitis in four patients (3%), and seizures in eight (6%). Seizures occurred only when OKT3 was given to patients with nonfunctioning grafts due to acute tubular necrosis. Infections were the only significant late adverse sequelae of OKT3 therapy and occurred more frequently after multiple exposures to the drug (53%) than after a single exposure (22%). IgG antibodies to OKT3 developed after 45% of exposures to the drug in the 74 patients in whom appearance of anti-OKT3 antibodies was monitored. In two patients (3%), anti-OKT3 antibodies were detected before the end of the OKT3 treatment course, neutralizing the immunosuppressive property of the drug. In five patients (7%), strong anti-OKT3 antibody responses were present at the time of subsequent rejection, which precluded reuse of the drug. In 17 other cases, no or only a weak anti-OKT3 response was detectable at the time of rejection following initial OKT3 exposure. Retreatment with OKT3 was successful in reversing rejection in 15 cases (88%). No untoward sequelae were noted after reexposure to OKT3, except the high incidence of subsequent infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988


  • OKT3
  • Transplantation
  • complications
  • kidney
  • monoclonal antibody

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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