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Immunosuppressants are a class of medications that inhibit or decrease the immune response in the body. Learn how immunosuppressants can help treat various conditions with a consultation from one of our board-certified doctors online. Get a new prescription or refill an existing prescription for your medications from a board-certified doctor online.
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Immunosuppressants are a class of medications that reduce the intensity of the immune response in the body. Immunosuppressants are usually required to avoid transplant rejection of an organ.
What do immunosuppressants treat?
Immunosuppressants are prescribed to patients who are at risk of transplant rejection or who have an autoimmune disease such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Psoriasis, Lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and Systemic sclerosis.
Types of Immunosuppressants
Based on the primary site of action, immunosuppressants are classified as inhibitors of transcription, inhibitors of nucleotide synthesis, inhibitors of growth factor signal transduction, and inhibitors of transduction.
How Immunosuppressants work?
Immunosuppressants act on different sites of action based on their subclass. Cyclosporine and Tacrolimus inhibit the transcription of cells. Medications like Azathioprine, Mycophenolate Mofetil, Mizoribine, and Leflunomide are inhibitors of nucleotide synthesis, so they cease the synthesis of nucleotides in cells to suppress the immune system subsequently. Medications like Sirolimus and Leflunomide are inhibitors of differentiation (15-deoxyspergualin), and this is how they exhibit their immunosuppressive effect.
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- Leflunomide, 20mg, once daily.
Side effects of Immunosuppressants
Immunosuppressants have several side effects, for example:
- Hair loss or growth
- High blood pressure
- Thinning bones
- Mouth sores
Risks of Immunosuppressants
- Do not take any immunosuppressant if you have a known allergy to the medication or its components.
- It is not recommended to take immunosuppressants during pregnancy due to potential adverse effects on the neonate or fetus.
- Immunosuppressants should be avoided in case of renal or hepatic impairment.
FAQs about antivirals
How do immunosuppressants weaken the immune system?
Since immunosuppressants modulate the immune response and lower your immunity, they make you more prone to developing viral, bacteria, and fungal infections.
Do immunosuppressants reduce life expectancy?
No, but it is believed that the life expectancy of immunocompromised patients is less than the general population, even if they are taking immunosuppressants. People with autoimmune diseases or transplant patients have a shorter life expectancy in general.
What to avoid while on immunosuppressants?
Avoiding raw or rare meat, fish, raw or unpasteurized milk, unwashed fruits, vegetables, and uncooked eggs is recommended while you are on immunosuppressants. Your immune system is compromised; you must only take germ-free dietary items.
What drugs trigger autoimmune disease?
Some blood pressure medications, statins, and antibiotics can trigger autoimmune disease. Medications like Isoniazid, Methyldopa, Quinidine, Minocycline, Chlorpromazine, Sulfadiazine, and Hydralazine can lead to autoimmune disease.
What should I do if I get a cold while taking immunosuppressants?
You should seek advice from your healthcare provider if you develop a cold or infection while using immunosuppressants.
Do I need to take any other kind of medication to treat my autoimmune disease?
Corticosteroids for inflammation and Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and pain are recommended along with other autoimmune medications to help manage an autoimmune condition.
Are there other medicines and food that can act against immunosuppressants?
Yes, some medicines and food items can interact with immunosuppressants such as grapefruit juice, anti-seizure medications, St. John’s Wort, anti-TB medications, erythromycin, and common blood pressure medications.
Does everyone who gets a new kidney have to take immunosuppressants?
Yes, almost everyone has to take immunosuppressants if they have an organ transplant for a time. Your doctor will decide whether you need to take medications or not.
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