For many patients, receiving an organ transplant may feel like the end of a painful, stressful journey. In fact, the transplant serves as the starting point of a new chapter of life which will require lifelong management. There are many factors that can impact an individual’s health after an organ transplant. Leading a healthy, vibrant life requires commitment from patients, caregivers, and providers.

The main goal of any post-transplant treatment is to prevent organ rejection by the body. To help reduce the risk, there are a variety of treatments available. These drugs, often called immunosuppressants or anti-rejection medications, help the body to shield the newly-transplanted organ from the body’s immune system. In doing so, these drugs help to minimize the risk of transplant rejection.

It is very important that these medications are taken consistently every day as prescribed. It is also crucial to not skip or miss doses. Coordination with the transplant team is a must before making any changes to these medications or how they are taken. Even though some of these medications may be associated with side effects, they can be managed. It is crucial to tell a healthcare provider about any side effects experienced.

Possible side effects from transplant medications include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • New-onset diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Increased risk of bone disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Increased risk of infection

Advances in post-transplant treatments have made it possible for patients to live healthy, vibrant lives. That said, patient management programs may be very valuable to patients whose ability to take their medications as prescribed has a direct impact on the long-term success of their transplant.