Posted in News and Notices [Monday, December 29th, 2014 ]
Frequently asked questions on Tacrolimus
What is Tacrolimus?
Tacrolimus is a macrolide antibiotic derived from the fungus Streptomyces tsukubaensis. Like cyclosporine, tacrolimus inhibits calcineurin to suppress T cells. Tacrolimus has a narrow therapeutic range, and adverse effects are common, particularly at high dose and concentrations, making therapeutic drug monitoring essential.
What is the main use of Tacrolimus ?
It is used to prevent rejection of organ transplants like Kidney, Liver, Heart.
How does it work ?
Tacrolimus is a type of medicine called an immunosuppressant. Immunosuppressants are used to dampen down the activity of cells in the immune system. When you receive an organ transplant the donor cells, although matched as closely as possible to yours, will not be identical to yours. This means that your immune system will recognise the tissue as foreign and try to attack the transplanted organ. This can result in the transplant being rejected.
Tacrolimus is used to prevent transplant rejection because it suppresses the activity of the cells in your immune system that would normally attack the transplanted tissue.
Why do I need a regular blood tests while using Tacrolimus ?
During treatment with this medicine your doctor will need to monitor various things to make sure the treatment is working properly and not causing side effects. Your blood pressure, nervous system and eyesight will be monitored, and your heart using an ECG. You will also need blood tests to monitor your kidney and liver function, blood sugar, blood clotting, blood cells, levels of salts (electrolytes, e.g. potassium), and amount of the Tacrolimus in your blood. Measuring the level of Tacrolimus in your blood helps your doctor to prescribe you the correct dose. It is therefore useful for guiding dosage adjustments to achieve optimal immunosuppression while minimizing dose-dependent toxicity.
How do I take Tacrolimus ?
• Tacrolimus capsules are usually taken twice a day, in the morning and evening.
• The number of capsules to take will vary from person to person. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions.
• Tacrolimus capsules should be taken on an empty stomach, at least one hour before or two to three hours after food.
• The capsules should be swallowed whole with a drink of water as soon as they are taken out of the blister.
• If you forget to take a dose just take your next dose at the usual time. Leave out the missed dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
• Avoid eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while taking tacrolimus.
• Do not stop taking this medicine unless your doctor tells you to. Stopping treatment may increase the risk of your body rejecting the transplant.
• Where can I do Tacrolimus test in Nepal? This is done at Siddhi Polyclinic, Sunday to Friday.
• When should I give blood? Blood Sample is given prior to next dose for trough level. Pre-dose (trough) level.