Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the conclusion of my article last week in the Westmeath Examiner. While I specifically deal with kidney transplants, much of the advice is true for any type of transplant (eg) Heart, lung, liver.
Nasal and Sinus Congestion
Nasal sprays such as xylometazoline (Otrivine® and Sudofed®) are safest for congestion problems. Do not use longer than three days as longer use can make congestion worse. Salt sprays (eg. Sterimer®) as nasal washes (eg. Neilmed Sinus Wash®) can ease sinus systems by moistening sinuses and acting as a natural anti-inflammatory and are safe to use long term. Oral decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (contained in the likes of Sudafed® tablets and many cold and flu remedies) should be used with care for transplant patients as they raise blood pressure which can put pressure on kidneys.
Guaifenesin (Robitussin®, Viscolex® or Exputex®) is safe for transplant patients suffering from chest congestion.
The cough suppressant dextromethorphan (Benilyn® Dry Cough) is safe to use. Vicks VapoRub® can help relieve a cough for a time. If diabetic, use a sugar free version such as Robitussin® Dry Cough Mixture.
Loperamide (Imodium®) can be used for short-term relief of diarrhoea. Do not use for longer than 48 hours. If diarrhoea is heavy, bloody, or lasts more than 48 hours, get checked by a doctor.
Products safe to use for transplant patients include fibre supplements (Fybogel®); stimulants such as bisacodyl (Dulcolax®) or senna (Senokot®) and osmotic laxatives such as lactulose (Duphalac®). Do not use stimulant laxatives such as bisacodyl or senna long term as they cause lazy bowel which can worsen constipation. If constipation last longer than 48 hours you should see your doctor.
Indigestion and heartburn
Mild stomach upset can be eased with some over the counter remedies such as antacids (eg) Rennies®; famotidine (Pepcid AC®) and pantoprazole (Pantup Relief®). Avoid antacids at the same time as immunosuppressants such as mycophenolate (Cellcept®), tacrolimus (Prograf®) or sirolimus (Rapamune®) as they reduce absorption of these drugs. Take OTC remedies such as antacids at least one hour before or two hours after the immunosuppressant
Simethicone (Imogas®) is recommended for gas which is a common cause of bloating.
Dry Eyes and Eye Irritation
Artificial tears eye drops should be first choice for the symptoms of dry eyes and eye irritation. They replicate the role of natural tears. Examples include Tears Naturale® and Artelac Drops®.
Nausea and Vomiting
Domperidone (Motilium®, Domerid®) can be used to treat and prevent symptoms of nausea and vomiting but only be use short term. See your doctor if nausea and vomiting lasts more than 24 hours as it can be caused by your prescription medication.
Skin Irritation, Insect Bites and Poison Ivy
Topical corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone 1% cream (Cortisol 1% Cream), is safe to use for skin irritation, insect bites, and skin rashes. Use of corticosteroids should be short term (no longer than 7 days) as they can thin and mark the skin if used long term.
Disclaimer: Consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes recommended.