Medications After a Heart Transplant
After receiving a heart transplant, your child will require a variety of essential medications. Each child is unique. Therefore the transplant surgeon and cardiologist may prescribe different anti-rejection medications based on each special situation.
It is extremely important for you and your child to learn correct doses, how to give each medication, possible side effects and special considerations. Your child may not go home until this teaching is complete, which includes: transplant teaching, pharmacy teaching, vital signs and medication administration.
- Give medications on a regular schedule in the same way every day to avoid mistakes and harmful drug interactions. You might find it helpful to keep a home medication journal.
- Do not give your child any over-the-counter or herbal medications without first checking with the transplant team.
- Call before anyone else (for example, your pediatrician or primary care provider) prescribes a new medication to be sure it doesn’t interact with transplant medications.
- Store all medications away from light, heat and children. Do not store in the bathroom because heat and moisture will change the medication’s effects. Do not refrigerate medications unless labeled by the pharmacy to do so.
- Bring your child’s medication with you every time you visit the hospital.
- If you miss a dose, give it as soon as possible. Do not double the dose. If your child misses two doses, call the transplant nurse.
- Never stop giving your child medication and notify your physician if a dose was skipped.
- Always keep medications with you whenever you travel — do not check your child’s medications with your baggage. Always take enough of each medication.
- Tell the transplant nurse if your child experiences side effects.
- Speak with a transplant nurse before considering a generic preparation or before adding, stopping or changing the way you give any medication.
- Know all the medications your child is taking and the possible side effects.
- Whenever you have your child’s anti-rejection medication refilled, make sure it looks the same as before.
If you have any questions about your child's medications, please call your child's transplant coordinator or your doctor without delay.