Managing Your Organ Transplant Medications

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April is National Donate Life Month, a time to celebrate and honor those donors who have given the gift of life and raise awareness about organ donation.

As a recipient of a transplant, you have a new set of responsibilities when it comes to managing the medications that are helping your body stay on track. Here are four simple strategies to remember when establishing a routine or regimen for managing your prescriptions.

Step 1: Stay Organized

Since you may be taking more medications than you were used to prior to transplant, dedication and commitment are key.

Medications can be stored in their original bottles or in pill boxes. Using a pill box may help you remember whether you’ve taken your most recent dose and help you plan for future doses. As a reminder when you are traveling, remember to keep medications with you and plan out doses ahead of time.

Taking your medications as scheduled is important in preventing side effects and providing adequate protection to your transplanted organ.  Excellent medication adherence has shown to extend the life of your organ.  If you are missing doses because of your schedule, side effects, or costs, speak with your transplant team.  Your provider, coordinator, pharmacist, or social worker can help.   

Associating taking medications with another daily activity such as brushing your teeth may help you remember to take your medications. Using a watch or phone with an alarm or using a mobile app like Transplant Hero are other helpful strategies.

Step 2: Keep Your Medications List Up-To-Date

This is important not only for your transplant providers, but for all members involved in your care as an updated list provides real-time information.  Be sure to let your providers know about over-the-counter medications and supplements that you may take, as well.

Step 3: Order Refills

Remember to call your pharmacy to request refills at least 7 to 10 days in advance so you do not run out of your medications. The phone number to call is usually listed on the prescription bottle.

Step 4: Be Your Own Advocate

Know your medications and know why you are taking each medication. If medications look different to you, always question it. Asking your pharmacist to clarify is a good first step. If you run out of refills, make sure you reach out to your providers.

These four steps will help you organize more efficiently and keep you and your organ healthy. If you have any questions regarding your medications, please contact your transplant coordinator or transplant pharmacist.

Together We Transform Lives

Visit ochsner.org/save9 and register to be an organ donor today.

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