Tacrolimus is used with other medications to prevent rejections of a heart, kidney, or liver transplant. This is also used to treat transplant rejection when other immunosuppressants have failed to control the rejection.
A heart transplant is a treatment that is usually reserved for people who have tried medications or other surgeries, but their conditions haven’t successfully improved. This transplant is performed when other treatments for heart problems haven’t worked, leading to heart failure. A heart transplant is a surgery to remove the diseased heart from a person and replacing it with a healthy one from an organ donor.
A kidney transplant is getting a healthy kidney that is placed inside your body to do the work your own kidney can no longer do. When having a kidney transplant, there are fewer limits on what you can eat and drink but you must follow a heart-healthy diet. Your health and energy should improve. Actually, an effective kidney transplant may let you live the kind of life you were living. It is before you got kidney disease. For kidney failure, there are two types of treatment – dialysis or transplant.
A liver transplant removes a liver that no longer functions properly. This process replaces a healthy liver from a living or deceased donor. A liver transplant is usually reserved as a treatment option. It is for people who have significant complications due to end-stage chronic liver disease. In rare cases, sudden failure of a previously normal liver may occur. Just after the surgical removal of part of the organ, the human liver stimulates and returns to its usual size.
Tacrolimus is in the class of medications called immunosuppressants. This weakens your body’s defense system to help your body accept the new organ as if it were your own. This product is supplied as a capsule for oral use. Each capsule is available in the dosage forms of 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 5 mg. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription.
How does Tacrolimus work?
Tacrolimus is an immunosuppressant drug. Immunosuppressants are used to dampen down the activity of cells in the immune system. When you receive an organ transplant, the cells of the donor, although matched as closely as possible to yours, will not be identical to yours. This means that your immune system will recognize the tissue as foreign and try to attack the transplanted organ. This can result in the rejection of the transplanted organ.
This medication suppresses the activity of the cells in your immune system that would normally attack the transplanted tissue. This acts on white blood cells and blocks the action of a substance called calcineurin. Wherein, it is to be found in white blood cells called T-lymphocytes. This action prevents T-lymphocytes from producing substances called lymphokines. Lymphokines are normally produced by the T-lymphocytes when a foreign substance is detected in the body. The purpose of lymphokines is to stimulate the production of more T and B lymphocytes. The white blood cells are responsible for regulating and triggering immune responses. The T and B lymphocytes attack foreign invaders and defend the body against infection and foreign cells.
How to use Tacrolimus?
Tacrolimus is usually taken every 12 hours or as directed by your doctor. Each dose may be taken with or without a meal. If you have nausea or an upset stomach, you may take this medication with food. The medicine is to be taken by mouth with a full glass of water. To help you remember, take the drug at the same time and in the same way each day. The capsule should be swallowed as a whole with a full glass of water. Do not chew, break, or crush it. The recommended dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Your doctor may direct you to start at a lower dose and eventually increase it. Drink plenty of fluids while having this treatment. Doing so may lessen the risk of certain side effects.
Do not take more or less than it is given. Do not suddenly stop taking Tacrolimus without the consent of your doctor. Even if you feel well, continue to take the medication until the full prescription is done. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose. Let your doctor know if your condition worsens or does not improve after 2 to 3 weeks.
What are the side effects of Tacrolimus?
Common side effects:
- Stomach or upset stomach
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia
- Loss of appetite
- Tingling or swelling of the hands or feet
Tell your doctor if these serious side effects occur such as:
- Mental or mood changes
- Change in the amount of urine
- Pounding heartbeat
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Redness, pain, or swelling of arms and legs
- Muscle cramps, pain, or weakness
- Dark urine
- Severe stomach or abdominal pain
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
Warnings and Precautions
- Tacrolimus may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid or limit your time in the sun. If you can’t avoid being in the sin, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen.
- If you get a cold or other infection while receiving this medication, call your doctor right away.
- You should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking Tacrolimus. It may increase the level of this medicine in your blood and may also increase the risk of side effects.
- This drug increases your susceptibility to infections because the suppressed immune system is less able to fight them. For this reason, you need to consult your doctor right away if you develop any signs of infection.
- Use this with caution in people with decreased liver or kidney function as well as with heart disease, hypertension, and edema.
- This medication should not be used in people who are allergic to Tacrolimus. Let your doctor know if you ever had an allergic reaction to this product before.