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Medications

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After you receive a transplant, medications will become a significant part of your life. Your transplant team will help you manage and understand your medicine.

The medicine you required prior to your surgery may no longer be necessary. Discuss all of your pre-transplant drugs with your doctors after the transplant. When you begin taking medication that is new to you, you will need to carefully monitor and report any unusual side effects to your nurse coordinator. Side effects vary by dosage and type of medication. Ask your nurse coordinator or doctor any questions you have about your particular medication.

To help the transplanted lungs survive in your body, you will be given medications for the rest of your life to fight rejection. Some of these drugs can adversely affect the kidneys and other organs. After returning home, you will need monthly blood tests to monitor the levels of your anti-rejection drugs.  Not only do levels fluctuate, but as your body adjusts to living with transplanted lungs, the amount of medication required to maintain your transplanted organ(s) will decrease.

Each person reacts uniquely to medications, and each transplant team has preferences for different drugs. The anti-rejection medications most commonly used include cyclosporine, tacrolimus (Prograf, Advagraf, Protopic), sirolimus, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, and prednisone. New anti-rejection medications are continually being developed and approved. Usually, several anti-rejection medications are given initially. The doses of these medications may change frequently, depending on your response. Carry a list of your current medications with you at all times. Never change or double the dose of your medications, and ask your coordinator what to do in the event that you accidentally skip a dose. You should never start an over-the-counter medication without consulting with your transplant team first. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, are contraindicated with transplant drugs.

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