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Immunosuppressive Drugs

Drugs that suppress the immune response and can be used to treat autoimmune disease. Unfortunately, because these drugs also suppress normal immunity, they leave the body at risk for infection.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Immunosuppressive agents for treating IgA nephropathy

IgA nephropathy is a common kidney disease that often leads to decreased kidney function and may result ultimately in kidney failure for one‐third of affected people. The cause of IgA nephropathy is not known, although most people with the disease have abnormalities in their immune system. We identified 32 studies enrolling 1781 patients that met our inclusion criteria. This review found that if people with IgA nephropathy receive immunosuppressive drugs, particularly steroids, they may be less likely to develop kidney failure needing dialysis or transplantation. Few studies were available and the harms of therapy are currently not well understood. Larger placebo‐controlled studies are now needed to be certain about the benefits and hazards of steroids on outcomes in IgA nephropathy and to identify which specific patients might benefit most from the treatment.

Immunosuppressive and cytotoxic therapy for pulmonary sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a condition that can affect most of the organs in the body, including the lungs, heart, brain, bones, liver and skin. Patients who have severe disease or those who do not respond to treatment with steroids are often given powerful agents that suppress the immune system in an attempt to control the disease. However, these drugs have severe side effects. There is no evidence at the moment that the benefits of these drugs outweigh their side effects.

The use of the immunosuppressive drug mitoxantrone (MX) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS)

This is an update of the Cochrane review "Mitoxantrone for multiple sclerosis" (published on Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 5).

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Summaries for consumers

Immunosuppressive agents for treating IgA nephropathy

IgA nephropathy is a common kidney disease that often leads to decreased kidney function and may result ultimately in kidney failure for one‐third of affected people. The cause of IgA nephropathy is not known, although most people with the disease have abnormalities in their immune system. We identified 32 studies enrolling 1781 patients that met our inclusion criteria. This review found that if people with IgA nephropathy receive immunosuppressive drugs, particularly steroids, they may be less likely to develop kidney failure needing dialysis or transplantation. Few studies were available and the harms of therapy are currently not well understood. Larger placebo‐controlled studies are now needed to be certain about the benefits and hazards of steroids on outcomes in IgA nephropathy and to identify which specific patients might benefit most from the treatment.

Immunosuppressive and cytotoxic therapy for pulmonary sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a condition that can affect most of the organs in the body, including the lungs, heart, brain, bones, liver and skin. Patients who have severe disease or those who do not respond to treatment with steroids are often given powerful agents that suppress the immune system in an attempt to control the disease. However, these drugs have severe side effects. There is no evidence at the moment that the benefits of these drugs outweigh their side effects.

The use of the immunosuppressive drug mitoxantrone (MX) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS)

This is an update of the Cochrane review "Mitoxantrone for multiple sclerosis" (published on Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 5).

See all (57)

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