Alkylating cytostatics

Alkylating agents for SLE

Cyclophosphamide, given intravenously, is often used in acute flare-ups during the advanced stages of SLE when kidneys, heart, and lungs are affected. The drug inhibits the activation and division of inflammatory cells, especially B and T cells. By alkylating DNA, cyclophosphamide inhibits DNA synthesis and cell division.


Cyclophosphamide is an extremely toxic drug, with many side effects. Patients often experience nausea and vomiting, alopecia, and gonadal toxicity. Bone marrow suppression must be monitored for each month. It also increases the risk of lymphocytic malignancies and bladder toxicity. See also alkylating cytostatics in the oncology chapter.


What is NOT true about SLE?