Drugs and the immune system
Immune and inflammatory responses protect the body from invad-ing foreign substances. These responses can be modified by cer-tain classes of drugs:
§ Antihistamines block the effects of histamine on target tissues.
§ Corticosteroids suppress immune responses and reduce inflam-mation.
§ Noncorticosteroid immunosuppres-
§ sants prevent rejection of transplanted organs and can be used to treat auto im-mune disease.
§ Uricosurics prevent or control the fre-quency of gouty arthritis attacks.
Antihistamines primarily act to block histamine effects that oc-cur in an immediate (type I) hypersensitivity reaction, commonly called an allergic reaction. They’re available alone or in combina-tion products by prescription or over-the-counter.