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Imunovir Review Article

 

Imunovir, also known as Isoprinosine or Groprinosin has been recommended as an adjuvant treatment for cancer, age-associated immune impairments and AIDS. There have been more than 60 articles published on Isoprinosine and cancer since 1972. Imunovir is an immunostimulator, which besides its immunomodulatory effect also has antiviral properties. It is used in the treatment of acute and chronic viral infections. Imunovir acts on the immune system to restore impaired cell-mediated immune response to its baseline level, in addition to enhancing humoral immune response. The drug also has a direct antiviral activity. Imunovir can reduce the intensity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the viral infection. In addition, the occurrence of complications is reduced and the frequency and severity of recurrences is minimised. Imunovir has been found to have an immunoenhancing effect in old persons. Imunovir also available in SYRUP form.

Imunovir can also be administered for immunorestoration after chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.

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imunovir-an adjuvant treatment for cancer, age-associated immune impairments and AIDS
The human body is made up of complex immune responses that protect the body from different pathogens like virus, bacteria and fungi.


The body has a strong immune system that protects it from different diseases caused by pathogens like bacteria, fungi and virus. However, a low immune system makes the body susceptible to pathogen attacks which is often caused by too much stress or the lack of proper nourishment. Low immunity is often accompanied by the symptoms of chronic infections, frequent cold and flu. When it comes to chronic infection, a person with low immunity often experiences genital herpes, warts, hepatitis and even HIV/AIDS.



Imunovir (Isoprinosine) is a nucleoside that has immunomodulator capability of the potentiator type which can enhance the immune system. It contains Isoprinosine which is a precursor of adenosine- inosine- which is a molecule that plays different supportive roles in the body such as the release of insulin, oxygen metabolism and it also facilitates the utilization of carbohydrates by the heart. Isoprinosine is derived from Brewer’s yeast as well as organ meats including kidneys and liver (Hicks and Kelly, 1997).



Imunovir (Isoprinosine) is also known and marketed with other names such as Viruxan, Virimun and Prinosine. It is possible to use the drug to boost the immunity and treat different viral infections including hepatitis, influenza and possibly HIV/AIDS but it is approved mostly to treat virus causing genital warts and Herpes simplex. Although it does not have any direct effect in treating cancer, it has been considered as a recommended adjuvant for the treatment of cancer and AIDS. In fact, there have been more than 60 articles since the early 70’s that relates the efficacy in improving the well-being of patients with cancer and AIDS. The drug is marketed in Canada and Europe but is not fully approved by the FDA in the United States.



Intake of Imunovir (Isoprinosine) can boost the immune system of the person. To understand its action, it is important to understand the basics of the human body’s immune response. The human body has two types of lymphocytes which include the B cells which carry out the humoral immune response and T cells which are responsible for the cell-mediate immune response of the body. These lymphocytes are equipped with antigen receptors which recognize and attacks foreign antigens that may pose threat to the body. Due to the stress and other factors, the number of these lymphocytes decrease and this provides the avenue for pathogens to attack the immunity of the body. Although Imunovir (Isoprinosine) does hot have direct antiviral properties, what it does is that it enhances different aspects in the immune system in order to treat the viral infection. However, there are some studies that Imunovir (Isoprinosine) does have a direct activity against viral pathogens although it is non-antigenic. Imunovir (Isoprinosine) reduces the intensity of the diseases’ symptoms and it also shortens the duration of the infection. On going studies have noted that, Imunovir (Isoprinosine) can raise the natural killer (NK) cells while correcting the imbalances of the T helper cells in the host’s body.



imunovir can be used to treat genital warts
Imunovir (Isoprinosine) as Drug to Treat Genital Warts

In the study of Mohanty and Scott (1986), they have found out that Imunovir (Isoprinosine) was effective in treating lesions caused by genital warts. The success rate of treating genital warts with Imunovir (Isoprinosine) was 41% to 94%. Moreover, the drug was also able to increase the B lymphocytes in the body of the patients by as much as 21%. In another study conducted by Hicks and Kelly (1997), they have found out that Isoprinosine can stimulate the production of B lymphocytes as well as increase the IgG (Immunoglobulin G) which is another antibody that guards the body from any pathogen attack. The results of the study of Hicks and Kelly (1997) have supported the findings made by Mohanty and Scott. On the other hand, in the study of Ten-Wen and Weinstein (1973), they were able to find out that the antiviral activity of Isoprinosine is both effective in vitro and in vivo.



use the drug to boost the immunity and treat different viral infections including hepatitis, influenza and possibly HIV/AIDS but it is approved mostly to treat virus causing genital warts and Herpes simplex
Before (blue) and after (white) results of IgG after treatment of Imunovir (Isoprinosine).

Imunovir (Isoprinosine) as Treatment to Other Viral Diseases

Imunovir (isoprinosine) is not only used to treat genital warts but it is also used to treat other viral infection such as the subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). This is a rare yet chronic encephalitis that is debilitating and deadly which affects the brain. The casual agent is a virus that is similar to Rubella which causes measles. In the study conducted by Huttenlocher and Mattson (1979), they have conducted treatment of Isoprinosine to 15 patients suffering from SSPE. Treatment using the drug has resulted to patients that showed reduction of the grave symptoms 33% among the patients. Those patients that have shown progress also has increased cerebrospinal fluid and immunoglobulin G. The study indicated that Imunovir (Isoprinosine) is a potential drug that can be used to alleviate the condition of patients who suffer from SSPE.

It has been mentioned earlier that Imunovir (Isoprinosine) can be used to reduce the symptoms of HIV/AIDS. In the study conducted by Pompidou et. al (1985), they have found out the Imunovir (Isoprinosine) can be used to possibly treat patients suffering from AIDS related complex. Exactly 100 µg/ml of Isoprinosine are given out to patients suffering from AIDS and found out that the number of T4+ cells have increased after treatment. The result indicates that the body showed good response after the intake of Isoprinosine. On the other hand, cancer patients are also treated with Imunovir (Isoprinosine). In fact, the drug is also used during immunorestoration which is administered to cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy and surgery.

Imunovir (Isoprinosine) is a non-specific antiviral drug thus it also has a potential to be used against viruses that causes respiratory diseases. In the study conducted by Muldoon et. al (1972) from the Virology Department of Hektoen Research Institute of Cook County Hospital in Illinois, they have used the antiviral activity of the drug on lab animals that are inoculated with virus that affects the respiratory system. These viruses include parainfluenza, rhinovirus and herpes hominis virus. In the study, they were able to find out that Isoprinosine has inhibitory properties on different strains of influenza used in the study regardless whether it was applied orally or by means of intraperitoneal injection. However, the study also resulted to increased fatality rate among the test animals although this observation has not yet been fully linked to drug toxicity or sepsis.


Dosage of Imunovir (Isoprinosine)

The prescribed amount of Imunovir (Isoprinosine) is 5,000 to 6,000 mg per day for an adult patient. However, the dosage varies depending on the age of the patient. In most clinical studies, the accepted dosage is 1 to 4 grams daily. However, most of the Imunovir (Isoprinosine) tablets that are sold in the market are distributed in 500mg so it is advisable to take two or eight tables daily to get the results. Since Isoprinosine is a nucleoside, it is easily excreted away from the body thus it is advisable to take frequent doses of the drug. On the other hand, administering Imunovir (Isoprinosine) through injection or enema can deliver higher dosage to the blood thus omitting the need to take frequent doses. The thing here is that there are a lot of doses when it comes to this drug thus before taking in Imunovir (Isoprinosine); it is advisable to consult your doctor first.


Adverse Effects and Safety of the Drug

There are no grave side effects reported with regards to the intake of Imunovir (Isoprinosine) for longer periods of time. Although this may be the case, it is still important to be careful while taking the drug. Perhaps the most important precaution for Imunovir (Isoprinosine) is that it is converted to uric acid thus it may be a potential risk to people who suffer from gout. Intake of Imunovir (Isoprinosine) increases the amount of uric acid found in the urine and blood. This is so because Imunovir (Isoprinosine) contains inosine which is metabolized into uric acid upon ingestion. Although there is an increased amount of uric acid, the value returns to normal a few days after the treatment is halted. Other undesirable effects of the drug include gastrointestinal discomfort such as vomiting and epigastric inflammation. Skin rashes, itching, vertigo and headaches are also reported in less than 1% of the population who has tried taking Imunovir (Isoprinosine). Since there are only a minimal percentage of patients who suffered from these discomforts, this drug is generally safe for most patients.

However, there are still exceptions on people who are discouraged to take the drug. Although Imunovir (Isoprinosine) does not come with a teratogenic effect on developing fetus, pregnant women are discouraged from taking this drug. It is also advisable for breast-feeding and lactating women not to take this drug without their doctor’s prescription. People who suffer from high blood pressure and heart-related diseases are also discouraged from taking the drug. It is best to consult the doctor prior to trying this drug for safety reasons.


References:

Hicks, D.A. and A. Kelly. 1997. Meta-analysis of clinical studies for use of Imunovir(R) in treatment of genital warts. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 9(1): 149-150.

Huttenlocher, PR. And R.H. Mattson. 1979. Isoprinosine in subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. Neurology 29(6):763-71.

Mohanty, K.C. and C.S. Scott. 1986. Immunotherapy of genital warts with inosine pranobex (Imunovir): preliminary study. Genitourin Med 62: 352-355.

Pompidou, A., M.C. Delsaux, L. Tevi, B. Mace, F. Coutance, A. Falkenrodt and J.M. Lang. 1985. Isoprinosine and Imuthiol, Two Potentially Active Compounds in Patients with AIDS-related Complex Symptoms. Cancer Research 45: 4671s-4673s.

Te-Wen, C. and L. Weinstein. 1973. Antiviral activity of isoprinosine in vitro and in vivo. 265 (2): -.


 

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