Now that your child has received a new liver, he or she will require a variety of essential medications prescribed by the professionals at Lurie Children’s. Each child is unique. Therefore, the transplant surgeon and hepatologist (liver specialist) may prescribe different anti-rejection medications based on each special situation. It is important for you to learn correct doses, how to give each medication, possible side effects and special considerations.
The following medication categories include those most commonly used by transplant patients:
- Anti-rejection: Cyclosporine, Neoral, Imuran, Prednisone, Cellcept, Prograf
- Antivirals or anti-fungals: Bactrim, Nystatin, Acyclovir, Ganciclovir
- Antihypertensives: Vasotec, Procardia
- Anticoagulants: Heparin, aspirin
- Biliary/gastrointestinal: Actigall, Zantac
Your nurse will help you prepare a medication schedule for your child and will review each medication and their effects. You will also learn correct doses, how to give each medication, side effects and special considerations about each medicine. The following guidelines apply to all medications that have been prescribed for your child after the transplant:
- 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.
- 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 and 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 do not hesitate to call the transplant team. During weekdays (8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.), the liver transplant nurses should be contacted at 312.227.4030. During the night and on weekends, parents should call 312.227.4000 and ask for the attending gastroenterologist on call.