Early diagnosis and treatment are important and can help in managing the symptoms and lessening the chance of permanent damage to organs or tissues.
Because lupus affects each person differently, treatments and medications are prescribed based on individual needs.
For mild cases of lupus, medicines may include over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines.
For more severe lupus, or when internal organs are affected, stronger prescription drugs are prescribed to quiet the immune system and protect organs such as the kidneys, heart, and lungs from further attack.
Medicines Commonly Used for the Treatment of Lupus
- NAIDS, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are used to relieve achy joints and arthritis in mild lupus when pain is limited and organs are not affected. Antimalarial drugs, such as hydroxycholorquine, are often prescribed for arthritis or skin problems.
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are used for major organ involvement. The dosage prescribed will depend on the type of organ involvement, symptoms, and blood test results.
- Immunosuppressive agents, such as azathioprine (Imuran), methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, hydroxychloroquine, and mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), are potent drugs that help control the overactive but misdirected immune system in lupus patients. They help limit damage to major organs and are closely monitored to counter the potentially serious side effects and complications.
On the Hunt for New Lupus Medicines
Researchers at the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) are intensively looking for new alternatives to the medicines that people with lupus now take. Unlike a decade or two ago, there is now real hope that safe new treatments will soon be introduced and approved by the FDA.
You Can Be a Part of It—Take Part in a Lupus Clinical Trial
Every person with lupus who signs up for a clinical trial moves science one step closer to new treatments and eventually a cure. To learn more about clinical trials, click here.