Clinical Pattern of Tolvaptan-Associated Liver Injury in Trial Participants With Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD): An Analysis of Pivotal Clinical Trials

David H. Alpers, James H. Lewis, Christine M. Hunt, James W. Freston, Vicente E. Torres, Hui Li, Wenchyi Wang, Molly E. Hoke, Sharin E. Roth, Lucas Westcott-Baker, Alvin Estilo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale & Objective: Tolvaptan is associated with risk of drug-induced liver injury when used to treat autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). After this risk was described based on the clinical trials TEMPO 3:4 and TEMPO 4:4, additional data from the REPRISE trial and a long-term extension of TEMPO 4:4, REPRISE, and other tolvaptan trials in ADPKD have become available. To further characterize the hepatic safety profile of tolvaptan, an analysis of the expanded dataset was conducted. Study Design: Analysis of safety data from prospective clinical trials of tolvaptan. Setting & Participants: Multicenter clinical trials including more than 2,900 tolvaptan-treated participants, more than 2,300 with at least 18 months of drug exposure. Intervention: Tolvaptan administered twice daily in split-dose regimens. Outcomes: Frequency of liver enzyme level increases detected by regular laboratory monitoring. Results: In the placebo-controlled REPRISE trial, more tolvaptan- than placebo-treated participants (38 of 681 [5.6%] vs 8 of 685 [1.2%]) experienced alanine aminotransferase level increases to >3× the upper limit of normal (ULN), similar to TEMPO 3:4 (40 of 957 [4.4%] vs 5 of 484 [1.0%]). No participant in REPRISE or the long-term extension experienced concurrent alanine aminotransferase level increases to >3× ULN and total bilirubin increases to >2× ULN (“Hy's Law” laboratory criteria). Based on the expanded dataset, liver enzyme increases most often occurred within 18 months after tolvaptan initiation and were less frequent thereafter. Increased levels returned to normal or near normal after treatment interruption or discontinuation. Thirty-eight patients were rechallenged with tolvaptan after the initial drug-induced liver injury episode, with return of liver enzyme level increases in 30; 1 additional participant showed a clinical “adaptation” after the initial episode, with resolution of the enzyme level increases despite continuation of tolvaptan. Limitations: Retrospective analysis. Conclusions: The absence of Hy's Law cases in REPRISE and the long-term extension trial support monthly liver enzyme monitoring during the first 18 months of tolvaptan exposure and every 3 months thereafter to detect and manage enzyme level increases, as is recommended on the drug label. Funding: Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. Trial Registration: Trials included in the dataset were registered at with study numbers NCT00428948 (TEMPO 3:4), NCT01214421 (TEMPO 4:4), NCT02160145 (REPRISE), and NCT02251275 (long-term extension).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-293.e1
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)
  • Hy's Law
  • alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
  • aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
  • clinical trial
  • drug rechallenge
  • drug-induced liver injury (DILI)
  • hepatic events
  • liver safety
  • tolvaptan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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