Each year thousands of lives are saved through organ transplantation. The actual transplant operation is, however, only the beginning of a long process for these patients.
After the transplant, patients take numerous medications to prevent organ rejection. Side effects from these critical anti-rejection medications may necessitate that patients take additional medications. In addition, some medications require close monitoring with frequent blood draws to check for drug levels. A typical patient will take 10 to 14 different medications every day for the rest of their lives.
Through this whole process, Cedars-Sinai Organ Transplantation pharmacists work closely with the medical team, the patient and family members to minimize side effects and organ rejection and maximize quality of life.
The pharmacist will educate the patient and family members about the medications the patient needs to take; monitor drug levels to ensure that the patient is receiving the appropriate dose; and be available by phone if the patient has medication questions. The pharmacist will meet the patient before the operation, see the patient in the hospital during the operation and monitor the patient through clinic visits afterward. This continuity allows the pharmacist and the patient to maintain a close working relationship, ensuring optimal patient care.
Responsibilities of the transplantation pharmacist include:
- Attending daily transplant rounds
- Formulating and recommending transplant specific therapy to achieve desired pharmacologic outcomes
- Ensuring accuracy of transplant protocols when ordered by transplant fellows
- Participating in Outpatient Transplant Clinics
- Reviewing medication administration records (MARs) daily to ensure appropriate therapy and monitoring medications
- Providing patient and family education about medication safety and efficacy
- Participating in clinical trials including assuring that patients are informed before they consent to take part in clinical studies; collecting and analyzing data; initiating single center studies, including drafting of proposals
- Serving as preceptor for fourth-year pharmacy students and residents
- Educating physicians and nurses on an ongoing basis about immunosuppressions