Prograf or its generic alternative Tacrolimus is an immunosuppressant prescription drug that you may be recommended to take in addition to other medications to help prevent organ rejection in those who are scheduled to undergo a kidney, liver or heart transplant. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
To help ensure this medication is producing the desired effect, without adversely affecting your general health, your doctor may regularly check your kidney function, blood pressure, and potassium and blood sugar levels during your treatment with Prograf. Typically, you will need to take medication for the lifetime of your transplanted organ.
Following the transplantation, the body will try to reject the newly transplanted organ because the immune system does not recognize the new organ as a part of your body. To avoid organ rejection, Prograf will be given by injection at first until your body is prepared for you to take this drug orally.
Prograf works by blocking the action of calcineurin, a substance found in white blood cells (T-lymphocytes). This results in stopping the T lymphocytes from producing lymphokines when a foreign threat has been detected. With Prograf, the lymphokines cannot stimulate the production of more white blood cells that control and trigger immune responses that will attack the new organ.
As an immunosuppressant, Prograf is basically designed to stifle your immune system to avoid the destruction of a transplanted organ. Sometimes you may be started on a course of intensive immunosuppression before your procedure take place and may continue for time afterwards to give your new organ a better chance to thrive. Maintenance therapy can continue for the time you have the transplanted organ with a change in the dose of Prograf, depending on how the organ is coping. Other drugs you may be prescribed to take during this time can include a corticosteroid and/or an antibiotic.
You should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while being treated with Prograf or generic Tacrolimus unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Tell your doctor about other medical conditions or allergies you have and list any current OTC or Rx drugs you take, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements that can interfere with the effects of Prograf.
There have been no studies on the effects that Prograf may have on an unborn or nursing baby so advise your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are nursing your baby before you start taking Prograf.
Prograf lowers the body’s ability to fight infection and disease. Your risk of developing an infection or certain types of cancer may be increased when taking Prograf. Avoid crowded areas and large gatherings where you are more likely to catch a cold or flu.