Asthma UK community forum


I am a little confused (it does not take much) lots of people mention chemo drugs for treatment of illnesses either similar too or even asthma related. I watched a friend going through chemo recently and it was evil and turned her inside out. Are the drugs that some are mentioning here at lower levels than a cancer sufferer might get or do people have to endure the hair loss, the sickness the tiredness the lack of ability to fight infection etc.

Also what do these chemotherapy drugs do for the asthma?


4 Replies

hi Bex, I may be wrong (not taking much to confuse me either) but I think the idea is that these drugs stop cells proliferating - whether they are tumour cells or an over rampant immune system. So for asthma they can work by keeping down the level of whichever immune system cell is being overproduced leading to inflammation. hopefully a science person will be able to correct if nec.

I think it is used in diff doses thogh they do warn of side effects and use phrophylactic anti-sickness and antibiotics.


ps have edited earlier message, realised it was inappropriate for these boards, hope it dint cause upset


I think the drugs people are talking about are the immunosuppressants that are often used in combination with other chemo drugs.

The Immunosupressants that have been tried are Methotrexate, Cyclosporin and azithroprin (?? spelling) Cyclosporin I think is used as an antirejection drug for transplants.

.... or have i got muddled?




Methotrexate is used in leukemia but aswell as having it as a tablet its also injected into the spine in some cases.


Hi Bex,

some of the drugs (immunosuppressants including steroids, methotrexate etc) which are used in asthma are also used in chemotherapy. Usually they are used in much bigger doses, or in combination with other drugs, in chemo for cancer.

Chemo covers a very large range of drugs, and the ones used for non-cancerous things are usually the ones with less side effects (like hair loss, nausea etc) than the others, although not always. Many of the immunosuppressants used for asthma can cause low white cell counts and predispose to infection just like chemo does - but usually in the doses used for asthma they don't knock your immune system quite so low.



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