Immunosuppressive drugs or immunosuppressive agents are drugs that inhibit or prevent activity of the immune system. They are used in immunosuppressive therapy to:
These drugs are not without side-effects and risks. Because the majority of them act non-selectively, the immune system is less able to resist infections and the spread of malignant cells. There are also other side-effects, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, peptic ulcers, liver, and kidney injury. The immunosuppressive drugs also interact with other medicines and affect their metabolism and action. Actual or suspected immunosuppressive agents can be evaluated in terms of their effects on lymphocyte subpopulations in tissues using immunohistochemistry.
Immunosuppressive drugs can be classified into five groups:
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