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Immunosuppression Medications for Liver Transplant Recipients: Brand vs. Generic

bottles of medicine

Generic versions of many anti-rejection medications are now available for liver transplant patients. Brand and generic medications have the same active ingredient but are created by two different pharmaceutical companies. Just like brand-name medications, all generic versions are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must adhere to strict regulations. These generic drugs usually save patients money as they are generally less expensive than brand-name prescriptions.

Generic vs. Brand Name Anti-Rejection Medications

Generic versions of your anti-rejection medications are safe to take after liver transplant. Whether you are on brand-name medication or generic medication, you should remain consistent on that manufacturer. Changing between manufacturers – brand name to a generic version or one generic to a different generic – can affect the drug levels in your body and can increase your risk for rejection, infection or side effects.  

If you have to change manufacturer or you ever notice your medication looks different in size, shape or color, let your transplant team know so we can monitor your drug levels during the change.

Immunosuppressive Medications After Liver Transplant

Many states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, permit pharmacists to dispense generic medications unless the brand-name medication is specifically requested by the prescribing physician. Patients who wish to continue on a brand-name product should notify their transplant coordinator so the prescription order is written correctly.

The pharmacy will fill the prescription with the generic medication unless the prescription contains the statement brand medically necessary. Many prescription insurance plans also require higher co-pays for brand-name medications.

Patients should contact the liver transplant team at 215-662-6200 with additional questions or concerns.

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The Penn Medicine Transplant blog features short postings with news about the transplant program at Penn Medicine, notices about upcoming events and health information. Subscribe to the blog and stay connected with Penn's Transplant Program!

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