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Lupus Treatment

Treatment depends on the organ systems affected by Lupus and the severity of the disease. Some patients have a mild form of Lupus. Their mild symptoms of inflammation can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and aspirin. Severe skin rashes and joint problems may respond to a group of medications usually used to treat malaria. More severely ill patients with potentially life-threatening complications (including kidney disease, pericarditis, or nervous system complications) will require treatment with more potent drugs, including steroid medications. Because steroids have serious side effects, they are reserved for more severe cases of Lupus. Drugs that decrease the activity of the immune system (called immunosuppressant drugs) may also be used for severely ill Lupus patients. These include azathioprine and cyclophosphamide.

Other treatments for Lupus try to help specific symptoms. Clotting disorders will require blood thinners. Psychotic disorders will require specific medications. Kidney failure may require the blood to be cleaned outside the body through a machine (dialysis) or even a kidney transplantation.
 
 

Drugs used in Lupus treatments

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) – These drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are usually recommended for muscle and joint pain, and arthritis.

Acetaminophen – A mild analgesic used for pain, such as Tylenol.

Corticosteroids – Synthetically produced corticosteroids, such as Prednisone, are used to reduce inflammation and suppress activity of the immune system.

Antimalarials – These drugs, such as Plaquenil, are prescribed for skin and joint symptoms of lupus. It may take months before these drugs demonstrate a beneficial effect.

Immunomodulating Drugs – These drugs, such as Imuran and Cytoxan, act in a similar manner to the corticosteroid drugs in that they suppress inflammation and tend to suppress the immune system.

Biologic Drugs – These drugs include agents that block the production of specific antibodies, like those against DNA, or agents that act to suppress the manufacture of antibodies through other mechanisms.

Lupus treatments - Lifestyle changes

People with lupus can make lifestyle adjustments that help fight the disease and provide an improved sense of well being. Preventive measures can reduce the risk of flares.

  • For photosensitive patients, avoidance of (excessive) sun exposure and/or the regular application of sunscreens will usually prevent rashes.
  • Regular exercise helps prevent muscle weakness and fatigue.
  • Immunization protects against specific infections.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle – get plenty of rest, reduce stress, eat a balanced diet, and quit smoking.

 

More Information about Lupus

 Butterfly Rash Picture

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Lupus Skin Picture

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