Indications for, and use of, cytotoxic agents in SLE

Baillieres Clin Rheumatol. 1998 Aug;12(3):511-27. doi: 10.1016/s0950-3579(98)80033-2.


Over the past decade, cytotoxic drugs have come to assume an increasingly important role in the management of systemic lupus erythematosus. Intravenous cyclophosphamide has become the standard treatment for lupus affecting major organs, in particular lupus nephritis. Cytotoxics with less potential for adverse side effects such as azathioprine and methotrexate are widely used in the management of non-major organ lupus and as an adjunct to reduce corticosteroid requirements. Recent clinical experience in lupus with newer cytotoxic drugs such as cyclosporin A, adenosine analogues, and mycophenolate mofetil appear promising and may offer improvements in lupus management in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Azathioprine / administration & dosage
  • Azathioprine / toxicity
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage*
  • Cyclophosphamide / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / toxicity*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Methotrexate / toxicity


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Azathioprine
  • Methotrexate