We always want to get that very magic pill - from everything, including to increase immunity. But does she exist? Theoretically, yes. We figured out together with an expert what immunomodulators are and whether they can be taken.

What are immunomodulators (and can they be dangerous)

Immunomodulators are biologically active substances that affect the immune system. Among immunomodulators, immunostimulants (substances that enhance immunity) and immunosuppressants (substances that suppress immunity) are distinguished.

What is the difference between immunomodulators and immunostimulants

Immunomodulatory drugs are quite diverse, both in terms of the mechanism of action and purpose. So, for example, among them there are both means to improve immunity and immunosuppressants. They are used, for example, in autoimmune, oncological diseases. They can lower the activity of the immune system.

As for immunostimulants, everything is more complicated. They are designed to improve and strengthen the immune system. But at the moment there is no magical miracle remedy that can do this. But this does not prevent many from drinking immunostimulants for colds.

All immunomodulators, which so colorfully promise to "raise and strengthen" the immune system, refer either to homeopathic preparations, or to placebo, or to remedies with a real active substance, but it is not known how active.

Let's say right away that this group of drugs is actively advertised and prescribed only in the territory of the post-Soviet space, in all developed countries they are prohibited.

What's the catch

What's the catch

The reason for the ban is quite simple: these are drugs without proven efficacy and safety.

It is not surprising that before a drug reaches the pharmacy, it undergoes tests, certain studies are carried out. In order to prove efficacy and safety, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies are needed. Let's take a look at what this means:

  • Placebo-controlled: one group of people take the real drug, the other a placebo (dummy)
  • Randomized: people are assigned to groups randomly
  • Double-blind: both participants and researcher are blinded. That is, the participants and the researcher do not know who is taking the real and who is taking the placebo.
Such studies allow avoiding bias, subjectivity, psychological influence on the participants.

For drugs from the group of immunomodulators, such studies were either not carried out at all, or they were carried out, but of very low quality. As a rule, these studies are sponsored by the manufacturer, which also raises questions about the legitimacy of these studies.

Also should strain when the indications for use list almost all infectious diseases, from SARS to tuberculosis. We remind you that there are no miracle pills for everything at once.

When can they be appointed?

The network often asks questions about whether immunomodulators can be used in an autoimmune disease. Theoretically, yes. Just like the common cold.

Immunomodulators are used in conditions such as:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Various types of cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Crohn's disease (chronic or long-term disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract)
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Genital warts (warts on the genitals caused by the human papillomavirus)
  • Pericarditis (swelling, irritation of the thin sac-like tissue surrounding the heart)
  • Still's disease (rare condition that causes high fever, rash, joint pain)
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans (a type of obstructive lung disease that affects the small airways)
  • Kidney transplant rejection
  • Leak capillary syndrome (a rare condition characterized by recurring bursts of massive leakage of plasma from blood vessels into adjacent body cavities and muscles)
  • Friedreich's ataxia (a rare genetic disease that causes difficulty walking, loss of sensation in the arms, legs, speech impairment)
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord)
  • Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (a rare disease that usually occurs in infants and young children)
  • Demyelinating polyneuropathy (a neurological disorder characterized by progressive weakness, impaired sensory function in the arms and legs)
  • Muckle-Wells syndrome (a disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of skin rash, fever, joint pain)

For complex diseases, such drugs may indeed work, but they are prescribed strictly by prescription, for serious indications, such as cancer or complex autoimmune diseases. 

Immunomodulators: is it worth taking

There is a danger in the use of such drugs. Well, if this is a placebo drug (dummy) or homeopathy (contains the active substance, diluted many times - that is, a small amount of this substance), then you can hope for a placebo effect. But what if a person really needs adequate treatment with drugs with proven efficacy and safety, and he is treated with pacifiers? Here the consequences can already be sad, time can be irretrievably lost!

Let us turn to immunomodulators with an active substance, and it is not clear how they act.

The use of substances with an incomprehensible mechanism of action, without proven efficacy and safety, is a risky business. Interference with the immune system of such drugs can lead to unpredictable consequences. You are not something that will not strengthen and raise immunity, you can ruin it, and along the way - other organ systems. Or maybe nothing will happen. The forecast here is impossible due to the fact that it is not clear how the drug works and whether it works at all.

In any case, experimenting with the use of such miracle remedies is a very bad idea.

Possible side effects

The list of immunomodulators is quite wide. Given that they can generally end up acting unexpectedly, there are side effects that you can encounter:

  • drowsiness , fatigue, constipation, low white blood cell count, neuropathy (painful nerve damage).
  • increased risk of blood clots.
  • serious birth defects in the baby if taken during pregnancy.
  • flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue.
  • burning sensation in the bladder.
  • skin reactions.

Instead of spending money on immunomodulators, you can spend it on fresh vegetables and fruits. It will be much more useful and safer for the body.