An immunosuppressant drug is any of a group of drugs that reduces the activity of the body's immune system. Immunosuppressant drugs are prescribed after transplant surgery to prevent the rejection of foreign tissues. They are also given to halt the progress of autoimmune diseases (in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissues) when other treatments are ineffective.
How immunosuppressant drugs work
Immunosuppressant drugs work by suppressing the production and activity of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that plays an important part in fighting infection and in eliminating abnormal cells that may form a malignant tumor.
Types of immunosuppressant drugs
Commonly used immunosuppressants include corticosteroids, such as prednisone and prednisolone, cytotoxic drugs, such as azathioprine, chlorambucil, cyclophosphamide, and methotrexate, and others such as antilymphocyte immunoglobulin and cyclosporin.