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Immunosuppressants? What even is that?!

I'm pretty sure that the majority of us have heard of the immune system, or also known as the lymphatic system. The immune system is what keeps are bodies safe from bacteria, cell changes, or any other harmful substances that could potentially hurt your body. Overall, the immune system is like our "best friend" that we can count on.

But what if I told you, that the immune system could be a potential threat? Hold on, before your freak out, let's rephrase this. This is specifically for organ transplant recipients. How can this even be? Why does their immune system react in such a lethal way?

The immune system has good intentions. When an organ is transplanted, the body may recognize the newly transplanted organ to be foreign. Therefore, the immune system will just be "performing its regular routine" of getting rid of what seems to be a harmful substance.

Luckily, there is a way to prevent this. That's when immunosuppressants come to play. You may or may not already have an idea of what these medicines are. Just break up the word: immune, suppressants.

According to, immunosuppressants are "...drugs or medicines that lower the body's ability to reject a transplanted organ". They are also called anti-rejection drugs. There are 2 types of immunosuppressants: induction drugs and maintenance drugs.

Induction drugs are powerful anti-rejection medicine used at the time if the transplant.

Maintenance drugs are anti-rejection medicines used for the long term.

Almost all recipients who have a newly transplanted organ must take these.


Immunosuppressants. National Kidney Foundation. (2022, January 18). Retrieved June 10, 2022, from

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