Life After Transplant Surgery
It is possible your body will recognize your new organ as different and attempt to reject it. To help prevent rejection take the immunosuppressant drugs, which will help your immune system accept the transplanted organ. Immunosuppressant or anti-rejection medications are drugs that you must take daily for as long as you have your transplant, which can be the rest of your life. They are powerful medications with many side effects. They must be taken exactly as prescribed to maintain the delicate balance. Taking too little medication may allow your immune system to destroy the new organ. Taking too much medication may alter your ability to fight off an infection, and may increase the likelihood of side effects. You must never change the dose of a medication without the advice of your transplant physician.
Most medications will be taken daily. Some post-transplant medications such as antivirals or anti-fungals, will be taken for a short time (only 2-6 months). Others, such as your immunosuppressants (anti-rejection medications) will be taken for the life of your transplanted kidney. It is important for patients to take all their medications correctly.
Here are some helpful hints:
- Learn everything about your medications. Consult your physician, clinical transplant coordinator, pharmacist, social worker, and/or support groups and attend educational seminars.
- Use reminder tools to help you take your medications. For example a pill box, sandwich baggies labeled with days of the week and dosage times, an alarm clock or a watch with alarms may work for you.
- Fit medication into your schedule. Work with your transplant team to create a medication schedule that fits your lifestyle.
- Keep track of your medication supply. It is dangerous to run out of medications even for one or two doses. Always keep at least one week's supply available.
- Understand your finances and insurance. Let your healthcare providers know if you are having trouble paying for your medications.
- Ask your family and friends to help. Having a support network will make the job of taking your medications a little easier.
- Find a pharmacy that will help manage your medications and provide educational resources designed for your needs. Your transplant coordinator or social worker will have a list of pharmacies, especially specialty pharmacies.
Taking your medication the right way plays a key role in staying healthy and taking care of yourself after your transplant.
Some of these immunosuppressive drugs include