What anti-rejection medications are taken after liver transplant?
After the transplant, you will take anti-rejection medications called immunosuppressants. These medications slow or suppress your immune system to prevent it from rejecting your new liver. They may include:
- Azathioprine (Imuran®)
- Myophenolate mofetil (Cellcept®)
- Prednisone (Deltasone®, Kedral®, Medrol®, Orasone®, Prelone®, Sterapred DS®)
- Cyclosporine (Neoral®)
- Tacrolimus, AKA FK506 (Prograf ®)
- Sirolimus (Rapamune®).
You must take one or a combination of these drugs exactly as prescribed for the rest of your life.
When will I be able to go home after the liver transplant?
The average hospital stay after liver transplantation is 10 to 14 days. Some patients may be discharged in less than one week, while others may be in the hospital much longer, depending on complications that may arise. You need to be prepared for both possibilities.
To provide a smooth transition from hospital to home, the nursing staff and your transplant coordinator will begin to prepare you for discharge shortly after you are transferred from the intensive care unit to the regular nursing floor. You will be given a discharge manual, which reviews much of what you will need to know before you go home.
You will be an important participant in your healthcare. Before your discharge, you will learn:
- How to take your new medications.
- How to check your own blood pressure and pulse.
- The signs of rejection and infection.
- When it is important to call the transplant team.
Readmission to the hospital after discharge is not uncommon, especially within the first year after transplantation. The admission is usually for treatment of a rejection episode, infection, or other complication.
What follow-up is necessary after a liver transplant?
Your first return appointment will generally be scheduled about one to two weeks after you are discharged from the hospital. During this visit, you will see the transplant surgeon and transplant coordinator. If needed, a social worker or a member of the psychiatric team can also be available.
Additional appointments are scheduled for every two to four weeks until three months after the transplant (as directed by the transplant surgeon). Generally, patients are then scheduled to return for follow-up at 6 and 9 months.
All patients are scheduled to return to the transplant clinic on the first anniversary of their transplant, and then every year after that.
Your primary care doctor should be notified when you receive your transplant and when you are discharged. Though most problems related to the transplant will need to be taken care of at the transplant hospital, your primary care doctor will remain an important part of your medical care.