Occasionally, medications can cause a syndrome of symptoms very similar to SLE. This is
called drug-induced lupus. Medications that may cause this syndrome include hydralazine
(used for high blood pressure) and procainamide (used for abnormal heartbeats).
Drug-induced lupus almost always disappears after the patient stops taking the medications
that caused it.
Causes of Drug-induced lupus
Drug-induced lupus erythematosus occurs as a result of a hypersensitivity reaction to a medication. The drug may react with cell materials, causing the body to react to itself and form antinuclear antibodies.
Drugs that are known to cause this type of reaction in some people include: procainamide, isoniazid, chlorpromazine, penicillamine, sulfasalazine, hydralazine, methyldopa, and quinidine. Symptoms tend to occur after taking the drug for a reasonable period of time, usually at least 3 to 6 months.
In drug-induced lupus erythematosus, the features of arthritis, systemic symptoms, and cardiac and pulmonary (lung) symptoms may be present. Other symptoms associated with SLE, such as lupus nephritis and neurological disease, are rare.
Drug-induced lupus erythematosus also differs from SLE in that the course of the disease is usually not as severe as SLE. Usually, the symptoms resolve within a few days to weeks after stopping the medication. The sex distribution of drug-induced lupus erythematosus is equal, whereas in SLE, women are affected more often than men.
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