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im·​mu·​no·​sup·​pres·​sive ˌi-myə-nō-sə-ˈpre-siv How to pronounce immunosuppressive (audio)
: causing or characterized by immunosuppression
This pneumonia is characteristically an opportunistic infection, occurring in people whose immune system has been profoundly impaired by cancer or by powerful immunosuppressive drugs.William L. Heyward and James W. Curran
Progression of conditions associated with human papillomavirus, such as cutaneous warts, is common in patients receiving long-term immunosuppressive therapy after transplantation.Nektarios I. Lountzis et al.


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plural immunosuppressives
: immunosuppressant
The trials may also be too risky for people who are severely immunocompromised—i.e., you have cancer or take immunosuppressives.Julia Ries

Examples of immunosuppressive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
There’s potential that a stem cell infusion from kidney donors might help prevent organ rejection — allowing patients to perhaps wean from immunosuppressive drugs. Meghana Keshavan, STAT, 3 Nov. 2023 Both Bennett's and Faucette's procedures used standard immunosuppressive drugs in addition to an experimental one. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, 18 Oct. 2023 As with other immunosuppressive drugs, Faucette must receive it for the rest of his life to prevent his new heart from being rejected. WIRED, 25 Sep. 2023 This includes people taking immunosuppressive medications or those who have pre-existing conditions such as liver disease, cancer, HIV or diabetes. Bill Sullivan, Fortune Well, 25 Sep. 2023 Flesh-Eating Bacteria Washing Ashore in Florida — and Plastic Is to Blame Keiser noted that the individual had a pre-existing liver condition and was undergoing immunosuppressive drug treatment. Sandra Rose Salathe, Peoplemag, 13 Sep. 2023 All three patients were listed as candidates for lung transplants, an option doctors hope to avoid because patients require immunosuppressive drugs and often die within five to 10 years after transplant. Hang Do Thi Duc, New York Times, 31 May 2023 Over the last almost four decades a toxic triad of immunosuppressive medicines — calcineurin inhibitors, antimetabolites, steroids — has remained essentially the same with limited exceptions. Seyward Darby, Longreads, 19 Apr. 2023 Supplementing with probiotics can support a healthy gut microbiome and aid in digestion. Medications: In some cases, anti-inflammatory drugs or immunosuppressive medications may be prescribed to manage severe IBD. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 13 Aug. 2023
However, the short-term release of cortisol is not bad, as cortisol is known to have immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 14 June 2023 Some people should not get the vaccine, including pregnant women, people with certain blood disorders or those on prolonged immunosuppressive therapy, and those with a moderate or severe illness, among others. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 10 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'immunosuppressive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



immuno- + suppressive, after immunosuppression


derivative of immunosuppressive entry 1

First Known Use


1963, in the meaning defined above


1965, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of immunosuppressive was in 1963

Dictionary Entries Near immunosuppressive

Cite this Entry

“Immunosuppressive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
im·​mu·​no·​sup·​pres·​sive ˌim-yə-nō-sə-ˈpres-iv How to pronounce immunosuppressive (audio) im-ˌyü-nō- How to pronounce immunosuppressive (audio)
: causing or characterized by immunosuppression
… graft-versus-host disease strikes the skin, gut, liver and lymph tissues and can lead to death unless rapidly brought under control by immunosuppressive drugs.Joan Arehart-Treichel, Science News
These drugs may also have immunosuppressive actions, which may contribute to their ability to induce permanent remissions of Graves' disease.Kiyoshi Hashizume et al., The New England Journal of Medicine


2 of 2 noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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