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What are the side effects of liver transplant medications?

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Side effects of liver transplant medications include diarrhea, headaches, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, reports Mayo Clinic. People taking anti-rejection medications can also develop thinning of the bones and diabetes.

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After having a liver transplant, a recipient needs to take medications for the rest of his life to help prevent the body from rejecting the new liver, according to Mayo Clinic. The body's immune system cannot tell the difference between the transplanted liver and invasive foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses. It may therefore attack and attempt to destroy the transplanted liver, resulting in a rejection episode. About 65 percent of liver transplant patients have rejection issues, usually within the first six weeks after the transplant.

Advances in the formulation of immunosuppressive medications to help prevent transplant rejection have brought significant improvements in successful transplant rates and reduced cases of acute rejection, according to California Pacific Medical Center. Most patients take as many as three different immunosuppressive medications, and many patients develop side effects from these drugs. Kidney toxicity, neurotoxicity, acute pancreatitis and neutropenia are among the more serious conditions associated with side effects caused by immunosuppressive medications. Other side effects include weight gain, hair loss and gastrointestinal intolerance.

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