Factors modifying stress from adverse effects of immunosuppressive medication in kidney transplant recipients


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Abstract

IntroductionThe adverse effects of immunosuppression appear in the majority of patients with a negative impact on morbidity, mortality and quality of life. The group of adverse symptoms manifested as changes in appearance, mood and energy are often more stressful than serious metabolic changes because of their direct negative influence on patients' well-being. The aim of this study is to explore the adverse symptoms of immunosuppressive medication which are the most stressful for transplanted patients, and which are the modifying factors.Patients and methodsA total of 157 adult kidney transplant recipients from two transplant centres in Slovakia with a functioning graft transplanted <7 yr ago were examined. Patients participated in an interview focusing on stress from adverse effects, and their education and social support. Medical records were searched for information about immunosuppression protocols, dialysis treatment before transplantation, type of received organ and period after transplantation. The effect of the selected variables on the total score for stress from adverse effects was tested using ANOVA. The effect of the selected factors on stress from each single adverse effect was explored using t-test and ANOVA.ResultsThe most stressful symptoms were pain, weakness, weight gain, facial changes, depression and anxiety. The mean value of the total score for stress from adverse effects was 8.03 ± 6.53 (minimum 0, maximum 30, range: 0–64), indicating low stress. Women and patients with lower education significantly more often felt the adverse effects of immunosuppression as stressful (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05, respectively). Age, social support, dialysis modality before transplantation, time from transplantation and type of immunosuppressive treatment did not affect the total score for stress from adverse effects. However, variables that were not significant in the overall score reached significance in some symptoms.ConclusionsWomen and patients with lower education significantly more often felt the adverse effects of immunosuppression as stressful; in a more detailed analysis the use of new drugs was connected with less stress in some symptoms. The use of these drugs can improve life quality for transplant recipients, decrease non-compliance, and thus prevent graft loss.

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