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Immunosuppressive therapy is frequently used to treat gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune hepatitis, IgG4-related disease (autoimmune pancreatitis and sclerosing cholangitis) and in the post-transplantation setting. These drugs interfere with the immune system. The main safety concern with their use is the risk of infections. Certain infections can be prevented or their impact minimized. Physicians must adopt preventative strategies and should have a high degree of suspicion to recognize infections early and treat appropriately. This article reviews the risk factors for infections, the mechanism of action of immunosuppressive therapy and proposes preventive strategies.

Original publication

DOI

10.1177/2040622313485275

Type

Journal article

Journal

Ther Adv Chronic Dis

Publication Date

07/2013

Volume

4

Pages

167 - 185

Keywords

IgG4-related disease, autoimmune hepatitis, immunosuppressive therapy, infections, inflammatory bowel diseases, prevention, transplantation, vaccination