After your kidney transplant, you'll need to take several medications, including immunosuppressive medications, to keep your body's immune system from rejecting your new kidney. Mayo Clinic doctors prescribe many types of immunosuppressive (anti-rejection) medications, which may include steroid-free immunosuppression protocols.
In the past, people with kidney transplants usually have taken steroids (such as prednisone) as one of their immunosuppressive medications to prevent rejection. But steroids may cause weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and blood vessel disease (cardiovascular disease), osteoporosis, and other problems.
You may be able to reduce or stop taking steroids soon after your kidney transplant, which may lessen your side effects and complications. You'll still need to take alternate immunosuppressive medications. Doctors will work with you to determine which drugs may be most appropriate for you based on your immune system risk, the specifics of your transplant, your reactions to medication side effects and other factors.
Mayo Clinic researchers continue to study steroid-free immunosuppression protocols and other potential immunosuppressive medication options for people with kidney transplants.