Which medications in the drug class Immunosuppressive agents are used in the treatment of Scleroderma?

Updated: Sep 09, 2019
  • Author: Sergio A Jimenez, MD, MACR, FACP, FRCP(UK Hon); Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Immunosuppressive agents

These agents inhibit key steps in immune reactions.

Azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran)

Azathioprine antagonizes purine metabolism and inhibits synthesis of DNA and RNA. It may decrease proliferation of immune cells, which results in lower autoimmune activity.

Methotrexate (Trexall, Rheumatrex, Otrexup, Rasuvo)

Methotrexate is an antimetabolite that inhibits DNA synthesis and cell division in malignant cells. It may suppress the immune system. Satisfactory response is observed in 3-6 wk following administration

Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)

Cyclophosphamide is chemically related to nitrogen mustards. As an alkylating agent, the mechanism of action of the active metabolites may involve cross-linking of DNA, which may interfere with growth and proliferation of normal and neoplastic cells.

Mycophenolate (CellCept, Myfortic, MMF)

Mycophenolate is a potent selective, noncompetitive, and reversible inhibitor of purine synthesis. It has cytostatic effects on lymphocytes. It may suppress the immune system.

Rituximab (Rituxan)

Rituximab is a potent immunosuppressive drug that acts by causing a selective depletion of B lymphocytes. Rituximab was initially approved for treatment of certain hematologic malignancies. However, owing to its potent immunosuppressive effects, its use in the therapy of autoimmune diseases, including systemic sclerosis, is expanding rapidly.

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