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Liver Transplant (cont.)

Post-Transplantation Medications

The first three months after transplantation is when the patient requires the most medication. After that time, some medicines can be stopped or their dosages decreased. Some of the medication is dosed according to the patient's weight. It is important for the patient to be familiar with the medications. It is also important to note their side effects and to understand that they may not occur with everyone. The side effects may lessen or disappear as the doses of medicine are lowered over time. Not every patient having a liver transplant takes the same medications. Some commonly used medications are as follows:

  • Cyclosporine A (Neoral/Sandimmune) helps prevent rejection. It comes in pill and liquid form. If the liquid is given, it is important to mix the liquid inapple juice, orange juice, white milk, or chocolate milk. The patient can "shoot" it directly into the mouth and then follow it with any liquid except gratefruit juice. Cyclosporine should not be mixed in a paper or Styrofoam cup because they absorb the drug. It should only be mixed in a glass container directly before taking the drug.
  • Tacrolimus (Prograf) helps prevent and treat rejection and works in a similar way to cyclosporine. Certain medications and substances, including alcohol, antibiotics, antifungal medicines, and calcium channel blockers (high blood pressure medications), may elevate levels of tacrolimus and cyclosporine. Other medications, including antiseizure medicines (phenytoin and barbiturates) and other antibiotics, may decrease tacrolimus and cyclosporine levels.
  • Prednisone (Deltasone, Meticorten), a steroid, acts as an immunosuppressant to decrease the inflammatory response. Initially, prednisone is given intravenously. Later, prednisone is given in pill form. Prednisone may cause the following side effects:

Note: Patients must never stop or reduce the prednisone without medical advice. The body normally produces small amounts of a chemical similar to prednisone. When a person takes in extra amounts of this substance, the body senses this and may reduce or stop its natural production of this chemical. Therefore, if a person suddenly stops taking the medication form of prednisone, the body may not have enough natural prednisone-like chemical available. Serious side effects may result.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/14/2015
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Liver Transplantation »

Research into the possibility of liver transplantation (LT) started before the 1960s with the pivotal baseline work of Thomas Starzl in Chicago and Boston, where the initial LT techniques were researched in dogs.

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