Medications After Transplant
Living with a transplant is a lifelong process.
You will need to take medications to stop your body from rejecting your new organ and help it fight infection. It's a delicate balance that requires close attention and care.
UC San Diego Health transplant doctors and pharmacists have extensive experience in the medications used to prevent organ rejection and infection and to keep you healthy. We will monitor your medications while you’re in the hospital and during clinic visits and adjust them as needed.
Preventing Rejection and Fighting Infection
Rejection occurs when the body’s immune system sees the new organ as an invading threat and attacks it.
Medications that help prevent the immune system from damaging the new organ are called immunosuppressants. However, they also block the immune system from fighting real threats like viruses, bacteria and fungi, putting you at higher risk for infection.
After your transplant surgery, you'll be prescribed medications that may include:
• Tacrolimus (Prograf) or cyclosporine (Neoral, Gengraf)
• Mycophenolate (CellCept, Myfortic) or azathioprine (Imuran)
• Sirolimus (Rapamune)
• Everolimus (Zortress)
You'll also be prescribed medications to help prevent infection after transplant surgery. These are typically taken for three to six months until your immune system is strong enough to defend itself against infection.
Your transplant doctor may prescribe other medications based on your specific health needs, including for high blood pressure, ulcer prevention, pain or high blood sugar. Some of these medicines can balance the side effects of those for preventing rejection and infection.
Other physicians may prescribe medications for different conditions. Please inform your transplant team so they can adjust your immunosuppressant dosage if needed.
Check with your transplant team before taking any over-the-counter or new medications to avoid potential interactions with your immunosuppressant medications. This includes aspirin, acetaminophen and cold medication.
Personalized Medication Sheet
After your transplant, we'll give you clear instructions on when and how to take your medicines. We'll repeatedly review this information until you're comfortable with how and when to take your medication.
Your doctor will customize the dosage and may decrease it or stop the medicines over time.
UC San Diego Health Pharmacy Services
Monitoring and Recording Your Numbers
It's essential to monitor and record certain aspects of your health after transplantation. We'll give you tools to help keep track of your blood pressure, blood sugar, temperature and all your medications daily. It’s important to write your results down in your log book.
You'll also need to get blood tests done regularly and meet with your transplant team in our clinic so that we can evaluate how you are doing and adjust medications as needed.
These nonprofit and government programs help with medication costs associated with organ transplants. For more information, contact your transplant social worker.