ASK YOUR PHARMACIST
Kidney transplant medication advice Part 1
This week I discuss kidney transplant. Anti-rejection medication needs to be taken long term after the transplant. While I specifically deal with kidney transplants, much of the advice I give is true for any type of transplant (eg) Heart, lung, liver. With all the drugs mentioned below, regular blood tests are needed as they can cause blood problems.
Cyclosporin prevents the body rejecting the new kidney. If you ever forget to take a dose of Cyclosporin and it is less than 6 hours since the missed dose, take the missed dose and go back to normal schedule with the next dose. If it has been greater than 6 hours, skip that one dose and go back to normal schedule with the next dose. Never double up a dose. Possible side effects with Cyclosporin include high blood pressure, hand tremors, tingling sensation in hands and feet, increased hair growth on face and gum problems
Tacrolimus prevents the body rejecting the new kidney. It must be taken twice a day.
If you ever forget to take a dose of Tacrolimus and it is less than 6 hours since the missed dose, take your missed dose and get back on schedule with your next dose. If it has been greater than 6 hours, skip that one dose and get back on schedule with your next dose. Do not double up. Side effects can include hand tremors, burning or tingling of the mouth, hand, or feet (this will likely improve as the dose is reduced), headaches, difficulty sleeping, high blood sugars, high blood pressure, nausea and/or vomiting (if this occurs, try taking with food)..
Prednisone is a steroid because that prevents or treats rejection of the new kidney. The dose may be increased or decreased depending on your response. High doses of Prednisone may be prescribed immediately after the transplant to prevent rejection with the dose gradually reducing once the transplant is deemed successful. Prednisone may need to be taken long term. It should be taken with food to prevent stomach irritation.
Prednisone should never be stopped abruptly; it should be gradually tapered off slowly as sudden withdrawal can cause severe fatigue, weakness, body aches and joint pains and possibly even cause life-threatening symptoms. Carry a “steroid treatment card” at all times to alert any medic who treats you that they must keep administering steroids to you.
Side Effects prednisolone can include:
Stomach irritation; blurred vision or disturbed eyesight (long-term use gives risk of cataracts or glaucoma); bone or joint pain, especially in hips; raised blood pressure; diabetes; weight gain; rounded, puffy face (called “moon face”); acne; insomnia; low mood; muscle weakness; slow wound healing; bruising; stretch marks and dry skin.
Organ Donor Awareness Week
Organ Donor awareness week is March 31st to April 7th so if you have not got an organ donor card get one from now from your local pharmacy. You can also request a donor card from the Irish Kidney Association in one of the following ways:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- freetext DONOR to 50050
- lo call 1890 543639
- By post to: Freepost, Donor House, Irish Kidney Association, Park West, Dublin 12
- To be continued…next week I discuss other kidney transplant medication. Give the gift of life by getting an organ donor card from the Irish Kidney Association on LoCall 1890 543639 or www.ika.ie