Treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: An UpdateAbout Lupus What is Lupus? Ask the Doctor What is Autoimmunity? The management of systemic lupus erythematosus SLE is divided into four parts: Boldenone cypionate powder the reader shoud be cognizant that the other three. Half with SLE may have constitutional symptoms e. The risk of this spread is almost entirely high dose corticosteroids lupus to the first 5 years after diagnosis.
Medications used to treat lupus
A detailed guide to the types, uses and potential side effects of the main medications used by people with lupus.
Anti-inflammatory medications help to relieve many of the symptoms of lupus by reducing inflammation and pain.
Anti-inflammatories are the most common drugs used to treat lupus, particularly symptoms such as fever, arthritis or pleurisy, which generally improve within several days of beginning treatment.
For many people with lupus, an anti-inflammatory drug may be the only medication they need to control their lupus. Corticosteroids prescribed for autoimmune diseases are different from the anabolic steroids that weightlifters and other athletes sometimes take to increase strength. Steroid medications work quickly to decrease the swelling, warmth, tenderness and pain that are associated with inflammation.
Prednisone is the most commonly prescribed steroid for lupus. Some physicians prefer to prescribe these if you have liver problems. Most people take steroids in pill form, but topical creams or gels are often used for cutaneous skin lupus.
Steroids in liquid form are sometimes injected into muscles or directly into joints and in some cases into skin lesions. Pulse steroids are large liquid doses given intravenously injected into a vein over several hours; the beneficial effects can last for weeks, so pulse steroids are sometimes prescribed to control a lupus flare or for people who cannot tolerate steroids in pill form.
Your doctor will try to keep your steroid dosage at the lowest effective level. Once the symptoms of lupus have responded to treatment, the steroid dose is gradually reduced tapered.
As an alternative to tapering, or stepping down, the steroid dose, your doctor may choose to have you take steroids on an every-other day basis -- one day on, one day off. Infections are one of the leading causes of death in people with lupus. Long-term steroid use can increase your risk of infection. If you are taking steroids, take extra care to clean and protect any open wounds. Antimalarials are prescription drugs used in combination with steroids and other medications, in part to reduce the dose required of the other drugs.
Antimalarials are most often prescribed for skin rashes, mouth ulcers and joint pain, but also can be effective in mild forms of lupus where inflammation and blood clotting are a concern.
Antimalarials improve lupus by decreasing autoantibody production, protecting against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light from the sun and other sources and improving skin lesions.
Unlike the rapid response seen with steroids, it may take months before antimalarial drugs improve your lupus symptoms. Side effects from antimalarials are rare and usually mild; they include upset stomach and changes in skin color.
Side effects usually go away after the body adjusts to the medication. In high doses and over time, certain antimalarial drugs may damage the retina of the eye retinal toxicity , causing vision problems.
However, as a precaution, people treated with antimalarials should get a baseline eye exam before or soon after starting the drug and visit an eye doctor ophthalmologist annually. Long term plaquenil users on high doses will need to monitor eye health regularly to prevent retinal toxicity from long-term use. Pregnant women should continue to take their antimalarial medication as prescribed to avoid a lupus flare.
Although this medication can cross the placenta, the possibility of eye and ear toxicity in the infant is very low. In fact, recent studies suggest that the risk of flare for the mother is greater than the risk of fetal toxicity. Immunosuppressive medications are prescription drugs used to control inflammation and the overactive immune system, especially when steroids have been unable to bring lupus symptoms under control, or when a person cannot tolerate high doses of steroids.
However, there can be serious side effects from these drugs. If you are being treated with immunosuppressives, you should be carefully monitored by your physician. It is extremely important that you pay attention to even the smallest cut or wound, and let your doctor know if any sign of infection begins, such as redness, swelling, tenderness or pain. These drugs may also increase your risk for developing certain types of cancer.
Each immunosuppressive drug has unique side effects. Therefore it is important that only physicians who are experienced with the use of these medications prescribe them. Because blood clots can be a life-threatening symptom of lupus, these drugs thin the blood to prevent it from clotting too easily. In particular, if you are being treated with warfarin, you must be monitored by your doctor to be sure your blood does not become too thin. Anticoagulant therapy may be lifelong in some people with lupus.
Therefore the dosage and administration of warfarin must be individualized for each person. Benlysta is the first and only drug specifically developed for and approved to treat lupus. One way Acthar is thought to work is by helping your body produce its own natural steroid hormones, such as cortisol.
These hormones may assist your immune system by helping your body defend itself against inflammation. Medically reviewed on July 12, Medications used to treat lupus Lupus Foundation of America September 26, Anti-inflammatories and over-the-counter pain relievers Anti-inflammatory medications help to relieve many of the symptoms of lupus by reducing inflammation and pain. Aspirin Pain-reducer with anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant blood-thinning properties. Can control some of the symptoms of lupus.
Can cause stomach irritation. Less stomach irritation than aspirin. Does not help with inflammation and cannot control lupus disease activity.
Most people have no side effects when taking Tylenol, but in rare cases acute liver failure has occurred. Especially useful for joint pain and stiffness. People often respond better to one particular NSAID than another so you may need to try several different products to determine the most effective one for you. You may need a prescription for these medications.
Recognizing this possible complication of NSAID use is important because the symptoms will go away when the drug is stopped. In general, you should always be cautious about taking too much of any NSAID as excessive amounts can reduce the blood flow to your kidneys and may interfere with their ability to remove waste from your body. NSAIDs are available over the counter and by prescription for higher dosages. Steroids can produce a variety of side effects, including: Acne A round or moon-shaped face, weight gain or hair growth Fluid retention and a redistribution of fat, leading to a swollen face and abdomen but thin arms and legs Fragile skin that bruises easily.
Suppressed growth in children. Irritability, agitation, excitability, insomnia or depression. Changes in appearance and mood are more apparent with high doses of steroids. Long-term steroid use can produce additional side effects, including: Increased risk of infections poses the most danger. If you are taking steroids, you must take extra care to clean and protect any open wounds.
Avascular necrosis of bone, which occurs most often in the hip, is the destruction of the bone itself and is quite painful. Relief from pain often requires total joint replacement. Osteoporosis bones become fragile and more likely to break leads to bone fractures, especially compression fractures of the vertebrae with severe back pain. Muscle weakness and cataracts also can occur. Antimalarials Antimalarials are prescription drugs used in combination with steroids and other medications, in part to reduce the dose required of the other drugs.
Immunosuppressives Immune Modulators Immunosuppressive medications are prescription drugs used to control inflammation and the overactive immune system, especially when steroids have been unable to bring lupus symptoms under control, or when a person cannot tolerate high doses of steroids. Taken in pill form previously. Today, Cytoxan is taken through the vein intravenously, or IV. Shown to improve kidney and lung disease. Can cause bladder problems, hair loss and sterility.
Known as the "gold standard" -- the best drug -- for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Shown to be very effective in treating skin lesions, arthritis and pleuritis in people with lupus. Can cause sun-sensitivity, liver damage, including cirrhosis and lung infections. Nausea, mouth sores and headaches are the most common side effects. If you are taking this drug you should not drink alcohol, especially if you have a history of kidney disease.
If you are taking high-dose of methotrexate, you should not use NSAIDs; caution is also advised when taking aspirin. Blocks inflammation pathways in lupus.
Helps to lower steroid dosage and improve liver and kidney disease. Can cause pancreatitis and an allergic form of hepatitis, so liver function tests and blood counts should be done regularly. Anticoagulants Because blood clots can be a life-threatening symptom of lupus, these drugs thin the blood to prevent it from clotting too easily. Repository Corticotropin Injection H. Sign up for our newsletter.