After your transplant surgery, you will be taking medications daily. It is extremely important for you to take all of your medications correctly and consistently.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) suggests these questions, tips and hints to help you with your medications:

Questions to ask your transplant surgery team about medications:

  • What medications will I take after transplant?
  • What does each medicine do?
  • How and when will I take them?
  • Are there any special instructions for these medications?
  • Is there anything I should avoid while I'm taking these medications?
  • Is there any written information available for me to read?
  • What if I miss a dose?
  • What are common side effects?
  • When should I call in about side effects or problems?
  • Are there alternative medications to choose from?
  • How long will I need to take these medications?
  • Are there any programs for obtaining medications at no charge or at a discount?

Medication tips:

  • Be certain you can read the labels on your medication bottles.
  • Be familiar with what your medications look like, color and size.
  • Make sure you understand the directions. It's ok to ask for clarification.
  • Take your medications exactly how and when your doctor or pharmacist tells you.
  • Do not change the dose, skip a dose or stop taking your medications wihtout your doctor's approval.
  • If you experience any unusual side effects, notify your transplant team.
  • Store your medications at the proper temperature.
  • Do not take any medicine that is not approved by a transplant physician because of the risk of interaction.

Helpful hints for remembering to take your medications:

  • Learn everything you can about your medications. Consult your physician, transplant coordinator, pharmacist and support group and attend educational seminars.
  • Use reminder tools to help you take your medications. For example, a pill box or bags labeled with days of the week and dosage times. An alarm on your smart phone, an alarm clock or calendar may work for you too.
  • Fit medication into your schedule. Work with your transplant team to create a medication schedule that fits your lifestyle.
  • Keep track of your medication supply. It is dangerous to run out of medications even for one or two doses.
  • Understand your finances and insurance. Let your healthcare providers know if you are having trouble paying for your medications.
  • Ask your family and friends to help. Having a support network will help make the job of taking your medications a little easier.
  • Find a pharmacy that will help you manage your medications and provide educational resources. Your transplant coordinator or social worker will have a list of pharmacies for you.

Taking your medication the right way plays a key role in staying healthy and taking care of yourself after your transplant.