Immunostimulants

IMMUNOSTIMULANTS


IMMUNOSTIMULANTS

  • Introduction:
    • Immunostimulants/immunostimulators are substances (drugs & nutrients) stimulating immune system by inducing activation or increasing activity of any of its components.
Drugs included:

1. Levamisole:

  • Uses:
    • For treatment of colorectal carcinoma after surgery – In combination with 5-FU.
    • Also for pediculosis treatment.
    • As an antihelminthic drug via stimulation of ganglionic nicotinic receptors.
  • Major adverse effect – Agranulocytosis.

2. Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG):

  • Viable stain of Mycobacterium bovis.
  • Useful as intravesical therapy of superficial bladder cancer.

3. Cytokines:

  • Includes interferons, colony stimulating factors (CSF) & various interleukins.
  • Eg: Aldesleukin, Sargramostim, Filgrastim etc.,
  • Aldesleukin – 
    • Recombinant IL-2.
    • Useful in malignant melanoma & renal cell carcinoma
  • Filgrastim – 
    • Recombinant G-CSF.
  • Sargramostim –
    • Recombinant GM-CSF.
    • Useful for chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression.

4. Thalidomide:

  • For treatment of ENL & multiple myeloma.

5. Imiquimod:

  • An immune response modifier.
  • Effective against external genital & peri-anal warts (condyloma acuminata) by topical route.
  • MOA:
    • Acts by releasing IFN-α and cytokines (IL-1, IL-6 & TNF-α).
    • Approved for basal cell carcinoma & actinic keratosis of face and scalp.

Exam Important

  • Immunostimulant drugs include Levamisole, Aldesleukin, Filgrastim, Sargramostim & Imiquimod.
  • Aldesleukin is ecombinant IL-2.
  • Filgrastim is recombinant G-CSF.
  • Sargramostim is recombinant GM-CSF, useful for chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression.
  • Imiquimod is used topically for external genital & peri-anal warts (condyloma acuminata).
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