Immune System Drugs Practice Questions with Answers and NCLEX® Review

Immunosuppressants (or immune system drugs) are a type of medication that treats certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, organ transplantation, and other autoimmune disorders.

Immune System Drugs Practice Questions with Answers

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    Introduction to Immunosuppressants

    The immune system is a complex network of organs, cells, proteins (antibodies), and chemicals. This system helps the body recognize, attack, and destroy harmful substances, such as bacteria, viruses, and cell changes.

    If the immune system is not functioning properly when it is weak or cannot fight aggressive germs, it can result in conditions like allergies, autoimmune disorders, or infections. The immune system may require additional support from medications. 

    In clients with autoimmune disorders, their medication regimen is used to target the immune system reducing its activity and destroying white blood cells (immunosuppressant)

    Hydroxychloroquine is a drug used to treat malaria, slowing down the growth of any cells that are infected with parasites. It also treats conditions like rheumatic fever and lupus by calming the immune system and reducing inflammation.

    Methotrexate is a drug that is used to help treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, and some cancers. It works by blocking a chemical in the body that slows the process of cell growth. 

    Cyclosporine is another drug used to treat certain cancers, but it can also be used to help prevent organ rejection after an organ transplant. It works by stopping the immune system from attacking foreign bodies like transplanted organs or tissues.

    Azathioprine is another immunosuppressant drug that can be used to prevent organ rejection after transplantation. It works by stopping the immune system from attacking foreign bodies like transplanted organs or tissues.

    Epinephrine is an adrenaline hormone produced by your body when under stress or experiencing trauma such as an injury or heart attack by increasing blood flow throughout the body.

    Hydroxychloroquine

    Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug that fights against the Plasmodium parasite, which is responsible for causing malaria. The drug inhibits DNA polymerase, which halts the replication of malaria cells.

    Mechanism of Action: Inhibiting the activity of certain enzymes involved in energy production in malarial parasites. This ultimately stops them from growing and reproducing. But as noted above can be used for other conditions also.

    Methotrexate

    Methotrexate is a cancer-fighting drug used in chemotherapy. It stops the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the production of folic acid and other substances necessary for cell growth.

    Memory Trick

    • Meth-no-trexate:
      • No pregnant clients
      • No crowds or live vaccines
      • No razors or brushing teeth hard

    Mechanism of Action: Stopping folic acid metabolism, which stops cell reproduction.

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    Cyclosporine

    When the immune system is compromised by disease or injury, it can lead to unwanted inflammation, which can cause further complications in a client’s health. Cyclosporine acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with immune system dysfunction.

    Mechanism of Action: Inhibiting the enzyme cyclophilin, which plays a role in the activation of T cells and other immune components.

    Azathioprine

    Azathioprine is a drug used to induce remission in clients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It is also used to prevent relapse of the diseases, as well as in other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriasis.

    Mechanism of Action: Suppressing the immune system by interfering with DNA synthesis, which prevents white blood cells from reproducing. This produces fewer inflammatory cells, which results in less inflammation and swelling in the intestines.

    Epinephrine

    When the body senses something is wrong, it releases epinephrine into your bloodstream. Epinephrine is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It’s commonly used as a medication for asthma and anaphylaxis, as well as for cardiac arrest and shock.

    Mechanism of Action: Binding to alpha receptors in the body, which increases blood flow to muscles and brain tissue. This results in increased heart rate and blood pressure, making it easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body.

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    Immunosuppressants Conclusion

    Clients with autoimmune illnesses require immunosuppressant medications as part of their treatment. While immunosuppressants attack white blood cells and immune system activity, they help reduce harmful growth (such as cancer cells). 

    Some important nursing interventions to remember are teaching the client about infection control and adherence to the prescribed therapy.

    Sources

    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/10418-immunosuppressants 

    https://www.healthline.com/health/immunosuppressant-drugs

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