Having an organ transplant can feel like a new lease on life!
You find that you can suddenly do more of the things that you enjoy. However, new recipients are sometimes overwhelmed with all the requirements of post-transplant living.
Protecting your new gift requires some discipline and consistency. As a new transplant recipient, you become keenly aware of things like:
To maintain the health of your transplanted organ, it is important that you take your immunosuppressant (anti-rejection) medications, but also at the same times each day.
Anti-rejection medications help to tame your body’s ability to attack and potentially damage your transplanted organ. To accomplish this, however, anti-rejection medications need to be taken:
One of the leading causes of transplant failure is not taking your anti-rejection medicines as prescribed.1
As soon as your body realizes there’s an organ that is not regarded as “self,” the immune system tries to mount an attack and response to the transplanted organ. That’s where your anti-rejection medications are so important to prevent this from happening.
By taking your anti-rejection medications at the same time each day and as prescribed, you will keep the medications at an even level in your blood.
“One of the easiest ways to keep your transplanted organ healthy is to take your medication as prescribed,” says A. Osama Gaber, MD, FACS, chair of the department of surgery, professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine, and director of the J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center at Houston Methodist. “Doctors take a personalized approach to choosing an appropriate medication regimen for each patient, which allows them to limit the risk of side effects and keep the transplanted organ protected. This personalized approach can help extend the longevity of the heart or kidney.”
There are many classes of anti-rejection “maintenance” drugs. Common ones include:2
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) says that blood levels of anti-rejection medications like tacrolimus, cyclosporine, and sirolimus must be closely monitored. Therefore, taking these medications as directed is the most important step you can take to prevent rejection.3
The NKF says, “Even missing a single dose may make it more likely for you to have a rejection.”4
There are several ways to remind yourself to take anti-rejection medications—and any of your post-transplant medications.
One such way is to set reminders on your phone or a clock. Another solution is using a pill box that is a container divided into different compartments. The pills for each time of day are sorted into these different compartments.
There are also smartphone apps—like AlloCare—that are specifically made for transplant patients.
AlloCare lets you manage your transplant medications by:
The free AlloCare app also has other features that track other metrics like blood pressure, water intake, steps, even mood.
For more information about the AlloCare app, go to /patients-and-caregivers/patient-solutions/allocare/.
For your free download of the AlloCare app, go to https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1497962881.