Cyclosporine in renal transplant recipients with delayed graft function (DGF) has been reported to decrease graft survival and prolong both DGF and hospitalization. In some centers, antilymphocyte globulin (ALG) has been used perioperatively to obviate these problems, but ALG is associated with increased viral infections. In this study, first cadaver transplant recipients with a fall in serum creatinine level of ≥ 30% in the first 24 hr were started on prednisone (P) and cyclosporine (Group 1, n = 18). Those whose creatinine level did not fall were started on P and azathioprine (Group 2, n = 23) and switched to P and cyclosporine when serum creatinine fell 30%. One-year patient survival was 98%. One-year graft survival was 83% for both Groups 1 and 2 (NS). Results were compared to historical controls with DGF who received P and cyclosporine (Group 3, n = 19). Patients with DGF and requiring dialysis had fewer dialyses (P < 0.05) and a shorter hospital stay (P < 0.05) if started on azathioprine, as compared to those started on cyclosporine. Patients with DGF had a higher serum creatinine at 12 months than those with immediate function (P < 0.05). We conclude that withholding cyclosporine until DGF is resolving decreases the duration of dialysis, decreases hospital stay, and without the use of prophylactic ALG, is associated with graft survival equivalent to that in patients with immediate function.