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Although the newer generation of immunosuppressive drugs -- cyclosporin A, for example -- has improved the success rate during the initial rejection phase, the long-term survival of a functioning kidney is only around ten years because of ongoing rejection that chips away at the kidney's ability to perform adequately. Current immunosuppressive drugs also have side effects, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
With the use of current immunosuppressive medications the risk of sudden kidney rejection is low, and if it occurs it can be treated very effectively. Kidney transplants last relatively long. Fifty percent of kidneys from a living donor still function after 16 to 20 years, and with organs from deceased donors, a transplanted kidney should last 8 to 10 years. Most people who have had a kidney transplant die with a functioning kidney -- the cause of death is usually another disease or illness.
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