Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Anti-rejection Drug

After an organ transplant the first thing that should come across your mind is that you want to take care of the new organ that you just received!!!!!!

What is the purpose of anti-rejection drug?

Anti-rejection drugs also known as immunosuppressants, helps suppresses the immune system so the body can accept the new organ. When a new organ is implanted into the patient's body, the patient's immune system may recognize the new organ as foreign and will reject it.  

What kind of anti-rejection drugs are out there?

Anti-rejection drugs have two categories
  • Induction agents: These are powerful anti-rejection medication that is used at the time of the transplant.
  • Maintenance agents: These are the anti-rejection medications that is used for long term.
    • Calcineurin Inhibitors:
      • Tacrolimus
      • Cyclosporine
    • Antiproliferative Agents:
      • Mycophenolate Mofetil
      • Mycophenolate Sodium 
      • Azathioprine
    • mTOR Inhibitor:
      • Sirolimus
    • Steroids:
      • Prednison

Are there side effects with these drugs?

  • Tacrolimus causes: tremor, hair loss, headaches and increase chance of developing diabetes
  • Cycloporine causes: hair growth, gum enlargement, and tremors. Sadly if you are bald, this will not help you grow hair.
  • Sirolimus causes: rash, bone marrow problem (low platelets, low white count), swelling of ankle, bubbly urine
  • Prednison causes: weight gain, water retention, diabetes, acne and bone thinning

Is anti-rejection the only thing you need to do after transplantation?

This is a both yes and no. After an organ transplant you have to take your anti-rejection drug daily to prevent your body from rejecting the new organ. However, after 6 months to a year, the anti-rejection drug doses are generally lowered and this will also make the side effect lowered. It is also recommended that you exercise and adopt to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Lastly, you should go to the doctors for check ups and vaccination.


  1. So let me get this straight. If a person is dying and in need of a organ, they get the transplant and is saved.Then they have to take anti-rejection drugs that basically make you go bald, tremors, have diabetes, have bone marrow problems; aka turn you into a 70 year old man/woman. I guess that is the price to pay for an organ transplant! Of course I'm just exaggerating. You did mention that as time goes by the drug dosage is decreased as well as the side effects, so that's a good thing too! I had No idea that those anti-rejection drugs had so many side effects!

  2. So my one question is do you have to take al these anti rejection drugs for the rest of your life? Or do they keep reducing the dosage until you only have to take a minimal amount? Well for one thing, all those side effects sound horrible but it sure beats the alternative... death.

  3. TV shows and movies leave out all of this stuff. They make it seem that once you find a match and the surgery is done that that is all that is required for you to survive. None of the side effects are mentioned, nor are these drugs and the life long struggle that accompanies it. This brought a lot of things to light to me and was extremely informative in comparison to what i have (essentially) been lied to about in other media.

  4. Jack, once again you've applied your sense of humor to lighten up the unpleasant nature of organ transplant. I think this is a great strategy for attracting the general audience, and I’m glad you’re still utilizing it. The information presented is short and straightforward, which is great for those who only need a general idea of what these drugs do. Personally, I would've liked to learn more about the molecular mechanism of immunosuppressant, but I can imagine people would be turned off by such details. I look forward to seeing how your topic develops. Good job.

  5. The pictures gives your blog a light mood, even though the topic is very gloomy. I hope in the future that you address how does a transplant surgeon evaluate if their patient is a match for the organ. I think many of us hear about transplantation, but it is very rare that we read or hear about the exact science involved such as, the lab techniques used, the operating room procedures, does the patient undergo psychiatric session before and after, and more. However, good job on the blog it is concise and gets to the point. Keep it up!