CTLA-4 Agonists Drug Class

Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) is a protein receptor that works to regulate the immune system. It is found on the surface of T-cells, whose function is to lead the cellular attack on antigens. Usually T-cells are responsible for attacking viruses, cancer cells and other invaders, but when mutated incorrectly they can cause great harm to the body. Stimulating the CTLA-4 receptor turns off the T-cell attack response. The CTLA-4 agonist works by activating the receptor and thus turning off the T-cell attack. Basically, when there is an excess of immune system activity the CTLA-4 protein can be used to tone it down. Mutations and polymorphisms of the gene have been proven to be associated with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, diabetes, celiac disease, Graves’ disease, thyroid-associated orbitopathy, and primary biliary cirrhosis.

CTLA-4 Agonists Drugs

Drugs classified as CTLA-4 agonists are listed below.

CTLA-4 Agonists Uses

CTLA-4 agonists are used primarily as therapy for autoimmune diseases. However, they are also often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. They are still in the testing phase as treatment for a number of diseases to ensure that they are both safe and effective before marketing their use more widely. CTLA-4 agonists are administered intravenously by a doctor. It must be given promptly and regularly for treatment to be effective, so if you are taking or considering taking a CTLA-4 agonist be sure to schedule appointments with your doctor during the necessary timeframe.

CTLA-4 Agonists Side Effects

CTLA-4 drugs can come with a number of side effects. Notify your doctor if you experience any of the more serious side effects. These drugs can also increase your risk of getting infections, and if possible you should avoid exposing yourself to people who have infections while taking it.

Common side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Memory problems
  • Decreased vision
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Arm or leg pain

Serious side effects include:

  • Hives
  • Skin rash or irritation
  • Itching
  • Facial swelling
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Signs of infection
  • Dry cough that won’t go away
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Frequent urination
  • Burning feeling during urination
  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Cellulitis (a hot, red, swollen area on the skin)

CTLA-4 Agonists Interactions

There are no dietary or lifestyle restrictions besides taking precaution to avoid infection, but before taking the medication, one should discuss interactions between CTLA-4 agonists and other medications extensively with a medical professional.