Liver Transplant Program

Medications After Pediatric Liver Transplant

Your child's body will respond to the new liver as a foreign body and will try to reject it. To prevent this, she'll be placed on antirejection medications (medications that suppress the immune system) after the operation and is expected to continue to take them for the rest of his or her life.

Antirejection medications have a variety of potential side effects. Children taking these medications may have increased risk of certain infections. In addition, the medications may cause kidney function changes, high blood pressure, and may interact with other medicines (like common antibiotics). For these reasons your child will be prescribed other medications to counteract those effects as needed.

Your child's medication dosages may change frequently, especially in the first few weeks or months after transplant, depending upon her response to them. Your child's doctor will order periodic blood tests to measure the medication amount in her body and ensure she doesn't get too much or too little.

Antirejection Medications

To prevent his body from rejecting the new liver, your child must take antirejection medications starting immediately after liver transplant and continuing for the rest of his life. In the first year, your child will take higher doses of these drugs, as well as a variety of other medications, such as antibiotics and antifungals. As time progresses, the dosages and number of medications will decrease. Your child may be taking one or more of the following antirejection medications (also called immunosuppressants):

Your child's healthcare team will periodically check your child to determine the level of medication in his bloodstream. Blood samples should be collected in the morning before the AM dose.

When giving your child immunosuppressants, you must give them exactly as directed by the doctor. If you have any questions, be sure to talk to your child's healthcare team.

Other Medications

Your child's doctor will probably prescribe other medications in addition to the antirejection medications your child is taking.

Because antirejection medications affect the immune system, children who receive a liver transplant will be at higher risk for infections, so your child will also need to take drugs designed to prevent them:

In addition to infection-fighting drugs, your child may also be taking other medicines and supplements:

Reviewed by: Elizabeth B. Rand, MD
Date: November 2012

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