Orthoclone OKT3 Uses

A healthcare provider may prescribe Orthoclone OKT3 if your body starts rejecting a newly transplanted kidney, heart, or liver. This prescription medicine works by decreasing the activity of the immune system, stopping it from attacking the new organ. There are also "off-label," or unapproved, uses for Orthoclone OKT3, such as treating a transplant rejection after a lung or pancreas transplant.

What Is Orthoclone OKT3 Used For?

Orthoclone OKT®3 (muromonab-CD3) is a prescription medication approved to treat people who are experiencing a kidney transplant rejection. It is also approved for the treatment of heart and liver transplant rejection after corticosteroids (steroids) have failed.
An organ transplant is a surgical procedure in which a healthy organ is transferred from an organ donor into a person who has a failing organ (the organ recipient). The transferred organ takes over the function of the failed organ, which is usually removed from the body. Not all organs can be transplanted. The most commonly transplanted organs include:
  • Kidneys
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Small intestine.
After an organ transplant, the immune system recognizes that the transplanted organ is not a normal part of the body. Because it is the immune system's job to protect the body from foreign invaders, the immune system will attack the transplanted organ, and try to get rid of it. This is known as transplant rejection. It is important to try to prevent transplant rejection, as it can cause a new organ to fail.
Much care is taken before a transplant to "match" an organ donor to an organ recipient. Matching involves testing certain factors, such as blood type and tissue type, to ensure the donated organ is compatible with the recipient. This helps reduce the risk of transplant rejection.
However, matching is not perfect, and it does not completely prevent transplant rejection from occurring. Therefore, people who receive donated organs normally need to take anti-rejection medicines for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, transplant rejection may still occur even when anti-rejection medicines are taken.
Orthoclone OKT3 is used to treat transplant rejection in people who have received a heart, liver, or kidney transplant. Specifically, it is used to treat acute rejection. Acute rejection is rejection that occurs early after the transplantation surgery, usually within the first six months.
When acute rejection occurs, the transplanted organ begins to fail. This can lead to symptoms such as:
  • Decreased urine production in people who have had a kidney transplant
  • Shortness of breath in people who have had a heart transplant
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice) in people who have had a liver transplant.
Other general symptoms of acute transplant rejection may include:
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • General feelings of discomfort
  • Pain at the transplant site.
It is important to recognize transplant rejection early, so it can be treated promptly. Medications like Orthoclone OKT3 can be used to decrease the activity of the immune system, and stop further transplant rejection from occurring.

Orthoclone OKT3 Drug Information

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