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Introduction to Lupus Treatments

 

Although there is no cure for lupus, for the vast majority of people with the disease effective treatment can minimize symptoms, reduce inflammation, and maintain normal bodily functions. Medications often are prescribed for people with lupus, depending on which organ(s) are involved, and the severity of involvement. Commonly prescribed medications include:

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.


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.

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