Open Accessibility Menu

Post Liver Transplant Medications

A Lifetime Commitment After Liver Transplant Surgery

Javier Espinosa, liver transplant recipient, The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas Medical Center ​​​​​Receiving a transplant means making a lifetime commitment to taking care of your health. You will need medications to prevent rejection or malfunction of your transplanted organ, probably for the rest of your life. Skipping doses or taking medications off schedule can cause your organ to fail. Your transplant coordinator and transplant pharmacist will ensure that you know how to use your medications before you leave the hospital. The medications can be expensive, but insurance and drug programs may help with some of the cost.

Pictured: Javier Espinosa, liver transplant recipient at The Liver Institute

​​​​Possible Side Effects of Antirejection Drugs

Most of the drugs you will take following transplant surgery are antirejection drugs or immunosuppressants. These drugs are very powerful and can have side effects such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Diabetes or elevated blood sugars
  • Increase in cholesterol level

Depending on your illness and the side effects of the antirejection medications, other medications may be needed. Some of these medications will be temporary, while others you will have to take for the rest of your life.

When to Call the Doctor

If you should become ill or experience any side effects while taking these medicines, it is important to contact your transplant doctor or coordinator as soon as possible. Get your lab work completed on time as ordered to help the team monitor your medications. Monitoring your medication levels closely can help avoid or prevent side effects and complications.

Chronic Care or Specialty Pharmacy

We suggest that you begin using a chronic care or specialty pharmacy at the time of your transplant, unless your regular pharmacy provides pharmacy services for your special needs. Specific pharmacy information will be provided to you at the time of your transplant. Your transplant team will help you maximize your prescription benefits by accessing a specialty pharmacy immediately after your transplant. Specialty pharmacies offer specialty services to patients with chronic diseases. In addition to these specialty pharmacies, your insurance provider may offer a mail-order service that you can access soon after your transplant. Your transplant coordinator at The Liver Institute will facilitate the transition for you.