The Lupus Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I'm curious to know if Plaquenil is an immunosuppresant. The paper that came on the bottle from the pharmacy said that it is, but the research I've done on the site seems to indicate it may not be. I know it's an antimalarial but exactly what does that mean?

I think I've read that it somehow interferes with the communication between immune cells, and that seems to me like it's an immunosuppresant.

Are there are any drugs that treat the symptoms of lupus that are NOT immunosuppressants?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,800 Posts
Hello again,

Plaquenil is not usually considered to be an immunosuppresant even though it may be marked down as that. For example, it is never considered in that way by doctors.

It is what we consider a disease "modifier". Precisely why it is so useful in lupus in not exactly known but it has been used for a very long time to treat it.

It is probably the safest drug you could ever be put on, safer than many OTC meds that we take without a second thought.

Unfortunately it can take a long time to kick in fully (usually between 3-6 months) but when it does it will then reduce the severity and frequency of flares and basically keep the disease better controlled.

For some people with more severe disease activity it will not be enough and other meds can then be added. Prednisolone is often used for a short while to gain control of a flare. Some people may have to take it more longer term for various reasons but in general the docs prefer to avoid that due to its long term side effects.

Many of the other drugs used are indeed immunosuppressants and they can be extremely effective in those for whom plaquenil is not enough. On the whole they are preferred over long term use of steroids.

Other than that many people find that they can get additional relief from NSAIDs and certain pain meds.

Hope that helps a bit,
Katharine
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,684 Posts
Hi Cleo,

It's weird it said that on the medication leaflet :huh: It's classed as a DMARD (i.e. disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug). It changes the acid base of the cells making it harder for them to make antibodies.

love
Lily
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,444 Posts
It says it on the sheet handed out at Walgreens and many other pharmacies in the USA at least. You are right in that it's theorized to work in lupus by modifying the Ph of certain cells which affects the ability of certain immune cells to act - and hence why they call it an immunosuppressant on the sheet.

However, it is not an immunosuppressant in the same vein as the other ones (Imuran, Methotrexate, Cellcept)... it is unlikely to affect the frequency of colds or bacterial infections. It could never be used to suppress immune systems enough to prevent organ transplant which is what is really meant by the term immunosuppressant nowadays at least.

It is a very safe medication to take, and I hope you will give it a try and not let the word scare you from taking it.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top