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How can I avoid side effects from my lung transplant medications?

You will be on a relatively high dosage of three immunosuppressants, including prednisone, a steroid medication. These medications are very powerful, particularly prednisone, which is excellent for slowing inflammation that develops when your body recognizes the new organ. However, they can cause side effects, such as high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, and kidney and gastrointestinal problems. When that happens, medications will be prescribed to treat the problems. Eventually, the dosage of immunosuppressants will be somewhat reduced as your body adjusts to the transplanted lung, but they will never be totally withdrawn.

Always keep in mind that the two most serious risks are organ rejection and infection. The immunosuppressants, which are so important in protecting your new organ from being rejected, also make you more vulnerable to infections. For example, a simple cold can quickly turn into bronchitis or pneumonia. Your transplant team is experienced in immediately diagnosing and treating both rejection and/or infections -- particularly when caught in the early stages. So, to help protect yourself from either of these medical problems, you must be compliant and vigilant -- e.g., keep your follow-up appointments, call with any problems, and do not miss a medication dosage.

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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.