Carol A. Langford, MD MHS; John H. Klippel, MD; James E. Balow, MD; Stephen P. James, MD; Michael C. Sneller, MD
Langford CA, Klippel JH, Balow JE, James SP, Sneller MC. Use of Cytotoxic Agents and Cyclosporine in the Treatment of Autoimmune Disease: Part 1: Rheumatologic and Renal Diseases. Ann Intern Med. 1998;128:1021-1028. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-128-12_Part_1-199806150-00012
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1998;128(12_Part_1):1021-1028.
When cytotoxic agents were initially introduced, their ability to disrupt nucleic acid and protein synthesis led to their effective use for the treatment of neoplastic disease.During the course of this use, however, it became apparent that these agents also suppress the immune system. This usually unwelcome effect was subsequently studied and beneficially directed toward the treatment of non-neoplastic diseases in which autoimmune mechanisms were considered important to pathogenesis. As a result of these investigations, cytotoxic agents and, more recently, cyclosporine have emerged to become an important part of the therapeutic regimen for many autoimmune diseases. Nonetheless, these medications may still cause treatment-induced illness or even death. It is therefore particularly important to weigh the benefits and risks of cytotoxic therapy when treating a non-neoplastic disease.
This two-part Clinical Staff Conference reviews data on the efficacy and toxicity of cytotoxic drugs and cyclosporine in selected autoimmune diseases. Part 1 examines the manner in which these agents have been used to treat rheumatologic and renal diseases.
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