Immunosuppression remains the cause of most morbidity following organ transplantation. However, its use is also responsible for the outstanding graft and patient survival rates commonplace in modern transplantation. Thus, the predominant challenge for transplant clinicians is to provide a level of immunosuppression that prevents graft rejection while preserving immunocompetence against environmental pathogens. This review will outline several strategies for minimizing or tailoring the use of immunosuppressive drugs. The arguments for various strategies will be based on clinical trial data rather than animal studies. A distinction will be made between conventional immunosuppressive drug reduction based on over-immunosuppression, and newer induction methods specifically designed to lessen the need for chronic immunosuppression. Based on the available data we suggest that most patients can be transplanted with less immunosuppression than is currently standard.
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