1. Health

Immunosuppressants

By

Updated December 09, 2007

Immunosuppressants:

Unlike many other diseases, there is no cure for systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly called lupus. But doctors can offer those that suffer with lupus a number of treatment options. These options offer a measure of hope and a great deal of disease management, allowing sufferers to lead a relatively normal life.

One option is the use of medicine, ranging from anti-inflammatory to investigational. The right medicinal choice is dependent on the nature of an individual’s disease. And a treatment course that begins with one drug, can readily evolve into a new treatment course and different drug altogether.

Your doctor will chart a course for you, most likely based on three key factors: type and severity of lupus symptoms, your response to treatment, and the side effect risks involved with taking certain drugs.

Here, we’ll review immunosuppressants, as well as give some examples of brand names lupus patients might encounter. Overtime, this resource will link to more detailed descriptions of the individual brand names, their side effects and other details.

Immunosuppressants (Cytotoxics):

These drugs are used to tone down the immune response of the body, but have the most serious side effects and are usually reserved for those with the most severe forms of systemic disease -- in lupus patients, this includes lupus nephritis and neurological disease. Because of the toxicity of these drugs, patients are carefully monitored to ensure that all is right, including regular blood counts to ensure that cell levels (such as white and red blood cells) do not drop below a certain amount.

Common Side Effects of Immunosuppressants:

  • A reduction in the production of white and red blood cells and platelets
  • An increased risk of infection, particularly viral infection

Each immunosuppressant carries with it its own set of possible side effects, such as hair loss and liver damage, so check with your doctor or pharmacist with regard to any potential side effects of the medication you’re prescribed.

Common Brand Names of Immunosuppressants:

Here are some common names of immunosuppressants:

Sources:

Medicines. Lupus Foundation of America. Collected on Dec. 4, 2007.

Treating Lupus. Handout on Health: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Revised August 2003.

Related Video
How to Choose Pain Medication
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Lupus
  4. Treatments
  5. Lupus: Drugs and Medicine
  6. About Lupus – Treating Lupus with Medicine – Immunosuppressants

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.