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the microsampling blog

why are immunosuppressive therapy drugs on the rise?

shutterstock_544348294Over the past five decades, the medical community has witnessed considerable advancements in organ transplants. Patients receive organs, and by following a post-transplant regimen of immunosuppressive drugs, their bodies can accept the organ.

Therefore, the use of immunosuppressive therapy drugs has been on the rise, reaching its peak in 2020. But there must be a reliable method for monitoring the use of these drugs and their effects.

This is because, although immunosuppressive medications are helping the body accept the transplanted organ, there are various side effects. These must be tracked via therapeutic drug monitoring, or TDM.

Side effects Associated with the Use of Immunosuppressive Drugs

Among the side effects associated with the use of these drugs are:

  1. High Blood Pressure: The normal functioning of the body is affected by a slowed immune response. This can also cause high blood pressure.
  2. Hyperglycemia: Immunosuppressive agents may tamper with the body’s way of managing blood sugar. As a result, there is increased sugar in the blood, also known as hyperglycemia.
  3. Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis occurs when there is an increased risk of bone fracture in your body due to decreased bone density. Some antirejection medications like corticosteroids will cause osteoporosis. The resultant fractures are more common at the spine, wrist, and hip.
  4. Weakened Immune System: Many types of immunosuppressant agents like tacrolimus work to lower the immune system to avoid fighting the new organ that has been introduced. This weakens the entire body’s immune system, opening doors to virus and fungal infection.

Other side effects may include kidney and liver problems and increased chances of uncontrolled bleeding. If you’re receiving immunosuppressive therapy, it is crucial for you to avoid anyone who is actively sick. This is because your immune system is at its lowest and you may get the infection as soon as you come into contact with the person.

Some side effects like osteoporosis may be averted through vitamin D and calcium supplements. Exercise can always help. It is vital for individuals taking immunosuppressive medications to monitor their health closely. This way, they can identify any changes before they become more challenging to handle.

Immunosuppressive therapy and therapeutic drug monitoring are an integral part of the healing process for an organ transplant patient. It is up to both the patient and the physician to monitor progress for a successful recovery.

Adapting innovative models like remote patient monitoring allows for smart, simple and safe remote sampling from the comfort of home, without the need to go to a clinic. The home-collected samples can be sent via regular mail to the clinical lab or toxicology lab for analysis, and the care team can follow up to adjust the immunosuppressive therapy as needed.

More information about microsampling for TDM can be found via our Microsampling for Drug Monitoring page. New call-to-actionIn some territories our devices are supplied for therapeutic or IVD use Outside of those territories our devices are supplied for research use only

Image Credits: Trajan, Neoteryx, Shutterstock

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