Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) is a category of drugs used in many autoimmune disorders to slow down disease progression. Their use was first propagated in rheumatoid arthritis (hence their name) but has come to include many other diseases, such as Crohn's disease, lupus erythematosus (SLE), idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), myasthenia gravis and various others.
- chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (antimalarials)
- cyclosporine (Cyclosporin A)
- gold salts (sodium aurothiomalate, auranofin)
- methotrexate (MTX)
- minocycline (a tetracycline antibiotic)
- sulfasalazine (SSZ)
When treatment with DMARDs fails, cyclophosphamide or steroid pulse therapy is often used to stabilise uncontrolled autoimmune disease. Some severe autoimmune diseases are being treated with bone marrow transplants in clinical trials, usually after cyclophosphamide therapy has failed.