What To Expect As You Begin To Take Immunosuppressants For Your Autoimmune Disease

Immunosuppressant drugs are the most common core treatment for autoimmune diseases. Whether you've been diagnosed with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or another autoimmune condition, there is a good chance your doctor will prescribe one of these medications. It can take some time to adjust, but here's a look at what you can expect as you do so.

Expect a strict schedule.

Immunosuppressant drugs need to be taken at the very same time each day. This schedule absolutely needs to be adhered to, no matter what. Different patients approach this differently, but here are a few suggestions:

  • Choose a time of day when you are almost always in the same place to take your medications.
  • Keep a couple of doses of medication in your wallet so that if you are ever out and about when it's time to take a dose, you have the medication with you.
  • Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take the medication.
  • Tell your friends and family members about your medication time so that they can remind you to take it if needed.

Expect some dose adjustments.

Usually, when a doctor first prescribes you immunosuppressant medications, they will plan on observing the change in your symptoms and any side effects you develop for a month or two. Based on how you react, they will then adjust your dose, if needed. Make sure you are honest with your doctor when they call to follow up and ask how you're doing. 

Expect to be careful about germs.

The unfortunate side effect of immunosuppressant medications is that they make you more likely to develop an infection since your body won't be as able to fight off pathogenic viruses and bacteria. As such, you will need to be very careful to avoid germs when you're taking these drugs. You will need to wash your hands often, avoid touching your nose and mouth if you're not sure your hands are clean and limit your time in crowded places. Your doctor may suggest that you wear a mask when you're out in public. 

Expect to take birth control or avoid pregnancy.

Most immunosuppressant drugs can cause birth defects, so if you are a woman who is able to have children, your doctor will probably strongly suggest that you take hormonal birth control while on these medications.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what to expect when taking immunosuppressants. 

To learn more information about autoimmune therapy, reach out to a health professional near you.