The most critical part of kidney transplantation is preventing rejection of the graft kidney.
- Different transplant centers use different drug combinations to fight rejection of a transplanted kidney.
- The drugs work by suppressing your immune system, which is programmed to reject anything "foreign," such as a new organ.
- Some of the most common immune-suppressing drugs used is,
- Cyclosporine: This drug interferes with communication between the T cells of the immune system. It is started immediately after the transplant to suppress the immune system and continued indefinitely.
- Corticosteroids: These drugs block T-cell communication as well. They are usually given at high doses for a short period immediately after the transplant and again if rejection is suspected.
- Azathioprine: This drug slows the production of T cells in the immune system. Azathioprine is usually used for long-term maintenance of immunosuppression.
- Newer antirejection drugs include tacrolimus, sirolimus, and mizoribin, among others.
- Other costly and experimental treatments include using antibodies to attack specific parts of the immune system to decrease its response.