Immunosuppressive and Cytotoxic Drugs in Dermatology: A Practical Overview and Personal Perspective

Jeffery P. Callen

Background: Cytotoxic/immunosuppressive drugs are regularly used to treat proliferative diseases of the skin and immunologically mediated inflammatory disorders.

Objective: The rational use of cytotoxic/immunosuppressive drugs, which depends on the proper selection of both the patient and the drug, is discussed.

Conclusion: Methotrxate, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, cyclosporine, and other related drugs have potential benefits in the treatment of severe recalcitrant cutaneous disease. Patients may survive otherwise fatal disorders, or may improve their life-style and become productive again. However, the beneficial effect of these agents is achieved when the blood level is at or near toxic level. Thus, the prescribing physician should have a familiarity with the potential toxicities and a knowledge of proper monitoring techniques.

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JCMS 1(1) Contents