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Doctor insights on: Immunosuppression

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Dr. Henry Selke
141 Doctors shared insights

Immunosuppression (Overview)

Our immune systems are complex, with defense functions against external threats and internal functions that define us as unique individuals. Therapeutic medications to control diseases of overactivity of the immune system (like lupus) or to prevent rejection of transplanted organs we want to trick the body into considering "self" have consequences caused by unwanted actions on this system.


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What does immunosuppression actually mean?

What does immunosuppression actually mean?

Immunosupression: Propensity for infection, anemia, bleeding. Causing weakness, infections, pain, cardiovascular, pulmonary, intestinal problems etc. Chemotherapy, radiation, cancer can make you immunosupressed. Is complex, but many times we can evaluate, duagnose and treat this. Don't assume bad outcomes, we can help. See a doctor.

Dr. Henry Selke
141 Doctors shared insights

Immunosuppression (Overview)

Our immune systems are complex, with defense functions against external threats and internal functions that define us as unique individuals. Therapeutic medications to control diseases of overactivity of the immune system (like lupus) or to prevent rejection of transplanted organs we want to trick the body into considering "self" have consequences caused by unwanted actions on this system.


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Can you tell me how is immunosuppression given?

Can you tell me how is immunosuppression given?

Depends: Induction treatments (potent immune suppressing meds given around the time of the transplant surgery) are usually given intravenously and often more than one dose is given. Maintenance immunosuppressants are oral anti-rejection medications that patients need to take daily (usually once or twice a day) to keep one's immune system from rejecting the organ. (e.g. Prograf, CellCept, Prednisone)

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What is the definition or description of: immunosuppression?

Lowered defenses: Our immune systems are complex, with defense functions against external threats and internal functions that define us as unique individuals. Therapeutic medications to control diseases of overactivity of the immune system (like lupus) or to prevent rejection of transplanted organs we want to trick the body into considering "self" have consequences caused by unwanted actions on this system.

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Will getting an organ mean that I will have to be on immunosuppression for life?

Yes: While some tolerance protocols are under investigation, the short answer is yes.

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How does radiation cause immunosuppression?

How does radiation cause immunosuppression?

Damaging DNA: Radiation damages DNA. For muscle, bone, or other long-lived cells, the cell may ignore the damage unless it is critical. For cells that are short lived or rapidly-dividing, like immune cells, the cell senses the damage and either commits cell-suicide or stops all its functions. Thus radiation prevents immune cell activation plus the production of new immune cells. Ask your doctor for more info.

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How long would someone be on immunosuppression meds after a transplant?

How long would someone be on immunosuppression meds after a transplant?

For the organ's life: The transplanted organ will never change its genetic identity - it will always be made of different dna than you. Your immune system will ultimately recover from the drugs you took, recognize the organ as "foreign" and reject it. Although a very small percentage of people can get away without taking the meds, we cannot predict who. For this reason, you must plan to take them forever.

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Does cyclosporin have long term immunosuppression effects? I took this 2/3 years ago for allergies but it did not help much. If so, what can I do?

Does cyclosporin have long term immunosuppression effects? I took this 2/3 years ago for allergies but it did not help much. If so, what can I do?

Cyclosporine: Though not always the case, cyclosporine suppression of the immune system is typically only during usage and a short time after use. The main use for allergies is when someone has hives unresponsive to most other therapies. If you are truly concerned, see an immunologist who can do a basic immune system work up to discover or refute your concerns.

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From the knowledge of an educated professional, what are the key differences between immunosuppression and immunodeficiency? How can both be fixed?

Similar terms: These two two terms are frequently used somewhat interchangeably as they mean essentially the same thing: immune system is not working optimally. Immunosuppression is a bit more of a general term referring to the process of decreased immune function while immunodeficiency is more often used when there is a specific disease. Either way, fixing the underlying cause is needed.

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How is pregnancy related to immunosuppression?

How is pregnancy related to immunosuppression?

Odd question: The outcome of pregnancy depends completely on superior diet without "junk". A healhy pregnancy does not suppress immunity, but a bad diet definitely will!

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How long would someone be on immunosuppression meds after kidney transplant?

How long would someone be on immunosuppression meds after kidney transplant?

For life: A successful transplant can have the dose of drugs reduced over time, perhaps some of them discontinued, but even the best matched organs will need continued immunosupression. Identical twin transplants, which are rare may be an exception.

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What would happen if I would stop my immunosuppression medication after my kidney transplant?

What would happen if I would stop my immunosuppression medication after my kidney transplant?

Immuno suppressant: Immuno suppressant medication prevent body from recognising transplanted kidney as foreign body. If these are stopped there is high probability of body rejecting the transplanted organ, kidney in your case. Not a good idea to change any medication without consulting your specialist or GP.

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How long do I need to take immunosuppression after a kidney transplant operation?

While Kidney Works: The transplanted kidney is made of genetically different "stuff" than you. This will never change. Your immune system won't get used to the kidney - although this is a dream we may some day accomplish with newer medications/treatments. With the tools/drugs currently available you must plan/accept the need to continuously take immunosuppression unless the kidney fails - which we hope won't happen.

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Where can I find relatively extensive info on immunosuppression & opportunistic infections on the web other than wikipedia? Thanks in advance!

Many sites: Try web MD, google thetopics and you will find a lot of sites. You can also ask your physician about options

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High WBC count on immunosuppression could it mean cancer?

High WBC count on immunosuppression could it mean cancer?

Not really: High white blood cells after transplant could be from possible use of steroids which might be given to prevent infection. But you should consult with your doctor or a hematologist to make sure the high number is not from an infection because of the immune suppressive medication you are on or malignancy.

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Are there certain types of birth control I cannot have if I am on immunosuppression for organ transplantation?

Are there certain types of birth control I cannot have if I am on immunosuppression for organ transplantation?

Barrier methods best: Barrier methods of contraception are preferred. Birth control pills may increase the risk for thrombosis/clots or worsen hypertension. An intrauterine device may cause chronic infections that are harder to diagnose or treat in an immunosuppressed patient.

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She has been diagnosed with factor 7 deficiency and has now developed inhibitors against factor 7? What are the treatment options? Immunosuppression?

See a hematologist: This is a complex and severe condition and should be managed face to face with a specialist in this area. The internet is not the place for speculation. You need to be examined, tests run and treatment planned with careful discussion and patient/physician interchange.

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I've just started Pulse Methylprednisolone infusions (1000mg, for 3 days, monthly). Generally, at what point does immunosuppression become a concern?

Pulse therapy: One of the benefits of pulse therapy for whatever condition, is reduction in side effects such as immunosuppression, in addition to many other side benefits as increased compliance, just keep a follow up with your physician, practice common sense though, for at least a week after therapy avoid contact with sick people, wear a mask if you want to be extra cautious, take care

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I have 3 weeks nausea, dihherea, and now fever with chills headache body ache. Dr found nothing last week. History of Crohns and immunosuppression?

I have 3 weeks nausea, dihherea, and now fever with chills headache body ache. Dr found nothing last week. History of Crohns and immunosuppression?

Body ache: It is possible being that your on immunosuppressive treatment you can aquire infections faster. It's possible you have a viral gastroenteritis, but if symptoms are not improving with hydration, OTC remedies, it's possible you may have a bacterial process and need antibiotics. See your doctor again for evaluation, and obtain some basic labs, CBC with differential and BMP.

Dr. Amy Friedman
121 Doctors shared insights

Immune Suppression (Definition)

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