Which medications in the drug class Immunosuppressive agents are used in the treatment of Pediatric Mixed Connective Tissue Disease?

Updated: Oct 24, 2018
  • Author: Marisa S Klein-Gitelman, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Lawrence K Jung, MD  more...
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Immunosuppressive agents

Evaluate children with signs of active nephritis to determine World Health Organization (WHO) classification category of their nephritis. For patients with class IV nephritis and some patients with class III nephritis, treat with corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide. Use azathioprine for individuals with milder nephritis. Use methotrexate for persons with arthritis not controlled by NSAIDs and for persons with fibrosis, especially sclerodermatous skin. Consider cyclophosphamide for individuals with severe systemic involvement of other vital organs, especially brain and lung. Consider other agents (eg, mycophenolate mofetil, cyclosporine) when standard therapies have failed. Other treatments under study include hormonal therapy, biologic agents that target cytokine production, and anti-DNA antibodies. For patients with severe persistent disease, autologous and stem cell transplantation is under study.

Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar)

Interferes with normal function of DNA by alkylation and cross-linking strands of DNA and by possible protein modification.

Azathioprine (Imuran)

Antagonizes purine metabolism and may inhibit synthesis of proteins, RNA, and DNA. May interfere with mitosis and cellular metabolism.

Methotrexate (Rheumatrex)

An antimetabolite that interferes with enzyme dihydrofolate reductase, leading to depletion of DNA precursors and inhibition of DNA and purine synthesis, particularly adenosine.

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