What is Tacrolimus?
Owing to multiple reasons, humans find themselves opting for organ transplantation. Because of the inefficient working of the vital organs such as the heart, lungs, kidney, and trachea, we may need a transplant.
Even though the possibility of having successful organ transplantation is high, our very own immune system may not give a helping hand to the new member of the group, and, naturally, starts to reject it. The effect this can have is severe and can make the whole transplantation futile and ineffectual.
The immune system is responsible for recognizing and protecting the body from particles that it considers to be foreign to the host. This includes germs, viruses, parasites, bacteria, and many more which are, without an ounce of doubt, unwelcomed to our system. The immune system is also known to attack even cancer cells to an extent, though it is not completely sufficient.
But at the same time, the immune system can show hints of cleverness as it can clearly distinguish between the good bacterias, (also known as beneficial bacterias) with the bad ones, and help the good bacteria triumph over the bad ones.
The harmful substances do have a coating known as antigens, which is protein. It is through these antigens that the immune system can instantly notice their presence in the body. If the antigen is any different from the host, they consider them to be foreign and will attack them.
The organ transplantation will leave the door wide open for such a situation, resulting in the system constantly rejecting the new organ.
Transplant rejection can be basically categorized into three types.
- The first type and the most disheartening of all is the hyperacute rejection. In this type, the antigen and because of its dissimilarity with the receiver's antigen, the rejection takes place within minutes from the completion of the surgery. To prevent the death of the receiver, the tissue must be withdrawn right away.
- The second type is basically seen in every organ transplantation, because of at least the slightest difference between the donor's and the receiver's antigen. But the rejection is not as severe as the previous one. Nevertheless, the organ transplantation can fail anywhere from 1 week to three months after the transplantation.
- In the third case, which is known as chronic rejection, the denial of the organ can take place over many years. The immune system will slowly damage the transplanted tissue or organ.
There are mainly two ways of avoiding this issue.
Firstly, the molecular similarity between the donor and the receiver must be efficiently scrutinized and checked for similarity, so that the chances and the extent to which the immune system will find the newly transplanted organ as an intruder is less. Also, the suppression of the transplanted organ by the immune system can be lessened through drugs which are known as immunosuppressive drugs.
Tacrolimus is an immunosuppressive drug that quashes the immune system and helps prevent the rejection of transplanted organs by hindering the activation of T-lymphocytes. It is prescribed to be taken orally or intravenously to people who have undergone an organ transplant.
Tacrolimus levels in the blood are assessed to maintain a therapeutic range. When the concentration is low organ rejection occurs and when the concentration is too high it leads to indications related to toxicity.
Why Get Tested?
The tacrolimus test determines the concentration of tacrolimus in the blood. The use of the tacrolimus drug is generally posted as an allogeneic organ transplant to reduce the risk of organ rejection. Tacrolimus levels are maintained within the therapeutic range as high levels of the drug cause kidney damage.
Reason To Take Tacrolimus (Tac) / Protopic Test
The kind of symptoms that are shown mainly depends on the type of organ transplantation one has gone through. The biopsy ( an examination of tissue from the body to check the presence, cause, or extent of the disease) will be done by the doctors regularly to identify symptoms if any so that the development of the symptoms can be avoided.
Symptoms observed in scenarios like these are:
- Kidney damage
- A headache
- High Blood Pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Electrolyte disturbances such as hyperkalemia
- Tinnitus (intermittent and/or persistent ringing or roaring in the ears)