What side effects can be expected from the medications prescribed after transplant?

Feb 19 06:54 2021 Ailbs India Print This Article

Liver transplant has a higher rate of survival in India. Recipients of the new liver are said to have 30 years of healthy life after the transplant procedure. The recent studies have shown that the national average one-year patient survival is at 87% for patients receiving a deceased donor liver transplant, graft survival is at 83%, and 92% survival rate for those transplanted with an organ from a living donor. The statistics include young as well old age patients who were immensely ill and those with a less severe liver transplant. 

Failure to comply with immunosuppressants medications is the major cause of graft failure. However,Guest Posting close follow-up with the transplant team can result in the best outcome. Careful attention to medicine schedule, changes in lifestyle, healthy eating, and regular physical activity can all result in prolonging life after the successful transplantation. 

How much liver transplant cost in India? On average, the cost of liver transplant in India ranges between 20 lakh-30 lakh INR. The cost is lesser when compared to other western countries in terms of the same treatment and care in the hospital. 

Medications are prescribed after the liver transplant to fight infection, prevent the rejection of the foreign liver, and treat other side effects of immunosuppressants (anti-rejection). Patients after getting discharged from the hospital need to take 7-10 medicines after the operation. As the patient recovers and heals, the number of doses reduces with time. Within 6 months, the medicines come down to 1-2 doses daily. 

However, in all cases, immunosuppressant medications are taken for long life to prevent rejection and boost the body’s immunity system. It is important to take the medicines at the specified time otherwise failing to take the right dose at the right time can result in organ failure and rejection which can be life-threatening.

Mohamed Rela is considered the best liver transplant surgeon in the world. He is an Indian surgeon known for his expertise in liver transplantation and hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) surgery. 


The medicines can be put into three different categories:


  • Anti-rejection:

These medicines are also called immunosuppressants medicines. These medicines will weaken the immune system but they do not eradicate the system. These medicines are taken to protect the new liver because the new liver is a “foreigner” and your immune system will try to reject it. As the rejection will decrease so will the number of doses. When the doses are high, you might experience certain side effects such as headache, loss of appetite, tremors, diarrhea, etc. Initially, after the transplant, you will be taking 3 anti-rejection drugs in high dosages. Some of the medicines include cyclosporine, tacrolimus, and mycophenolate mofetil.  

  • Anti-infective:

Because of anti-rejection tablets, you will be at high risk of infection as your immunity weakness. Anti-infective drugs will help you against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. It is taken first to six months of transplant. The side effects may include a decrease in the white count. This dosage will be reduced in people with kidney problems. 

  • Miscellaneous:

There are other medicines prescribed to treat the side effects of immunosuppressants medicines. The purpose of these veins will be to remove excess fluid from your body and sometimes to manage blood pressure. The side effects may include muscle cramps, dizziness, lightheadedness, and weakness.  

The success of your liver transplant highly depends on these medications. Many medications can have side effects. 


Following are some side effects post-liver transplant because of immunosuppressants medications prescribed to prevent rejection of the “new” liver: 


  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Change in mood
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of hair or hair growth
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Elevated blood sugar
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Bone and muscle weakness
  • Diabetes 
  • High potassium and low magnesium 


Most patients experience these side effects initially after starting medications but it eventually diminishes with a reduction in the dosage as the patient recovers. Although medications can be bothersome, patients should not discontinue taking medicines without the prior knowledge and consent of the transplant team. If the side effects are serious, then certain medications are prescribed to improve their tolerance. 


The mortality rate after liver transplant is high. Around 75% of patients undergoing liver transplant live for at least 5 years meaning out of 100 patients, 75 patients will live for 5 years after the liver transplant and 25 will die within 5 years. 


Problems after liver transplant:

Side effects from the medicines as seen above are some of the common problems after a liver transplant. But they aren’t serious if treated on time. Complications such as infection, rejection, and occurrence of the disease are common after the liver transplant and if untreated can lead to graft failure and increased morbidity and mortality. 

The first 3 to 6 months are difficult after the transplant as the body gets adjusted to the new liver and all medications need to be taken at the right time as specified by your doctor. Your body gets recovered within 6 months of time where you can start with normal life with few restrictions.


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Ailbs India
Ailbs India

AILBS - Advanced institute of liver and biliary sciences. Have a dedicated block for Liver transplant and GI Surgery, with highly professional staff to handle procedures as complex as Liver Transplant. Physicians, surgeons, and other health care professionals with the finest, state-of-the-art medical facilities all under one roof for quicker and accurate diagnosis! They one of the most sought-after teams of surgeons for Liver treatments in Southeast Asia and have one of the highest rates of success in liver transplants .

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