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CHAPTER 6







         POST-TRANSPLANT




                      MEDICATION







          After your transplant, medications will play an essential role in
          keeping your new organ working properly and maintaining your
          general good health. You will need to take some medications for
          the rest of your life. Other medications will be necessary only
          for a limited time. From time to time, the amount of a medication
          you take may change, or you may be switched from one
          medication to another. The medications, that you will be taking,
          are designed to prevent a number of problems:
          ● Transplant medicines (immunosuppressants) to prevent
             rejection
          ● Medicines to prevent infection
          ● Medicines to deal with other common problems after kidney
             transplant, such as cholesterol and blood pressure tablets.






        Immunosuppressants                                       Anti-rejection medications work only within a
        Immunosuppressants are medications that help          very narrow range in your body- too little, and you
        prevent rejection of your transplanted kidney. They   risk rejection; too much, and they can be poisonous
        are called immunosuppressants, because they work      or toxic to your body. That is why you must take
        by suppressing your immune system. These are          these medications exactly as instructed. Never
        powerful medications that affect other parts of       take more, never take less, and never, ever, skip a
        your body.                                            dose. If you do forget to take a dose, take it, if
           The goal of immunosuppressant therapy is to        remembered, within 4-6 hours of the prescribed
        find the right balance, between preventing            time, but never take a double dose, unless you are
        rejection while minimising side effects, and          specifically told to by your doctor. In order to be
        reducing the risk of infection. Many of the side-     certain that you are getting precisely the right
        effects are more severe when the dosage of the        amount of anti-rejection medication, you must be
        anti-rejection medication is highest, just after the  monitored carefully with routine blood tests, which
        transplant. In the weeks and months following your    also measure the drug level within your body.
        transplant, the dosage may be reduced, and some          You must take these medications for the rest of
        of the side-effects may become less troublesome       your life. Even if you have had a rejection episode
        or might even disappear. If you experience side-      or your doctor has reduced your dosage, you must
        effects, tell your doctor or transplant nurse, who    not stop taking these very important medications.
        might be able to adjust your dosage or switch you     If you stop taking your medication, you will
        to another medication.                                lose your kidney transplant. It is that simple.


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