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Journal Club
Open Access Article

Chemotherapy and Biotherapeutic Agents for Autoimmune Diseases

Eric Zack
CJON 2012, 16(4), E125-E132 DOI: 10.1188/12.CJON.E125-E132

New trends have emerged in treating patients with autoimmune diseases with medications traditionally used in oncology. This article will summarize a comprehensive literature review performed to identify effective chemotherapy and biotherapeutic agents for treating each of the main autoimmune subtypes (nervous, gastrointestinal, blood and blood vessel, skin, endocrine, and musculoskeletal systems). In addition to agents currently used, some of the newer therapeutic options show great promise to radically improve treatment choices when considering individualized plans. Improved outcomes and symptom management using newer nontraditional therapies provide a great impetus for oncology and nononcology healthcare professionals to remain abreast of the advancements made to current treatment options. All nurses (oncology and nononcology) need to be aware of these new trends and strengthen their understanding of certain oncology medications and their side effects, as well as establish the safe-handling practices necessary to administer these agents. The Oncology Nursing Society's Treatment Basics Course is one option that can provide nononcology nurses with the knowledge needed to fulfill new practice gaps. In addition, oncology nurses need to be aware of the many autoimmune diseases that may be treated with chemotherapy or biotherapy.