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What medication will I need to take after a liver transplant?

Once a new liver is transplanted, a recipient will be given immunosuppressant drugs to prevent the body’s immune system from attacking the liver.

After your liver transplant, you will be required to take medications to help your new liver function smoothly. Your body's immune system will recognize your transplanted organ as a foreign object and attempt to protect you by rejecting it. To protect your new liver, doctors prescribe a variety of medications to suppress your body's natural immune response.

Standard treatment is Prograf or Neoral plus Cellcept or Myfortic and prednisone. Most patients are weaned to Prograf alone within 12 months. After transplantation, you will be taking immunosuppressant medications for the rest of your life.

These medications have side effects that can include high blood pressure, excessive hair growth or loss, hand tremors, mood swings, weight gain, bone loss, and diabetes.

Not everyone experiences the same effects and some are temporary; others will continue as long as you take the medicines. Doctors will monitor and alter your medication regimen to minimize side effects and reduce dosages as quickly as possible, ensuring your new liver functions at its best. Although the amount of immunosuppressive medications required will decrease over time, they will be necessary for the rest of your life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.