Belatacept is a drug prescribed after kidney transplants. This drug temporarily suppresses the immune system so that the body won’t view the new kidney as a foreign invader and attempt to attack it.
All immunosuppressive drugs put patients at risk of developing infections and illnesses because the immune system is disabled in order to accommodate the new organ. In the case of Belatacept, patients are at particular risk of developing Epstein-Barr virus. This virus can lead to mononucleosis or other illnesses. It stays in the patient’s immune system for the rest of his or her life, so patients who have suffered from mono or related illnesses should not take this drug.
There is also an increased risk of developing post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder as a result of taking this drug. This is a disorder where the body develops too many white blood cells. This condition can lead to cancer of the central nervous system.
Finally, this medication should be used only for kidney transplants, not liver transplants. There is an increased risk of death when used in conjunction with liver transplants.