For most people with lupus, proper treatment can minimize symptoms, reduce inflammation and pain, and stop the development of serious organ damage. The information found here will help you understand the most commonly prescribed medicines today, and other drugs under investigation for treating lupus.
Treatments for Lupus
Health professionals continue to search for better ways to care for and treat people with lupus. Understanding what causes the disease and why certain people are more likely to develop it may one day lead to promising new treatments for, or even prevention of, lupus. In the meantime, researchers continue to look for new treatments and ways to modify existing ones so they can diminish or eliminate side effects and improve the quality of life for people who have lupus.
Medications to Treat Lupus Symptoms
Medications are important for managing many systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. An array of drug therapies is now available, and this has increased the potential for effective treatment and excellent patient outcomes. This section will discuss the use of Anti-Inflammatories, Corticosteroids, Antimalarials, Immunosuppressives medication and Anticoagulants in the treatment of your lupus symptoms.
Investigational Treatments for Lupus
People with serious illnesses who are not responding to already available treatments sometimes enroll in clinical trials to gain access to medical treatments that could be helpful. Here you will find information on Biologics, Hormones, Immunosuppressives (Immune Modulators), Monoclonal Antibodies, Organ Transplant Anti-Rejection Drugs, Stem Cell Transplantation and Topical Immunomodulators (TIMs) therapies.
The Best Approach to Taking Medications
Knowing your medications and being careful to take them as prescribed can sometimes be a daunting task, especially if the side effects seem to be worse then the lupus disease itself. This section will discuss how you and your health care team can work to develop the best treatment plan for you. Open communication and knowledge is the best approach to managing your lupus.
Complementary and Alternative Medicines and Therapies
This section looks at the role of complementary and alternative medications as a balanced approach to the management of lupus. Before you add herbs, dietary supplements, or vitamins to your diet, discuss this with your doctor, as these products may interact with drugs used to treat lupus. Dietary supplements should never be used to replace medicines prescribed to control lupus symptoms or medication side effects.
Center for Clinical Trials Education (CCTE)
There has been only one drug approved specifically for the treatment of lupus in more than 50 years. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some are due to the complexities of the disease itself, as well as how clinical trials are designed and completed. This section will provide you with information on how Clinical Trails are increasing the understanding of lupus and the development of new treatments.
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Ask the Experts
Check out the LFA's "Ask the Expert" archives and learn more about lupus on a variety of topics, including skin issues, pregnancy, pediatric lupus, kidney disease, women's and men’s issues, and medications. Our panel of nationally-renowned lupus medical experts provides insight, support, and answers into the puzzling and oftentimes frustrating issues of lupus. We invite you to submit your own questions through our website.
Learn from the Experts
Lupus: Learn from the Experts is an education series from the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. The program consists of free educational telephone conference calls on a variety of topics designed to provide you with important information about living with lupus. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading lupus experts from the comfort and privacy of your home.
LFA Approved Publications
The Lupus Foundation of America Patient Education Committee has reviewed and approved a number publications and other materials for use in educating individuals and families about lupus and its health effects.
Final Notes of Caution
In addition, many medications are not recommended for a woman who is planning a pregnancy, is currently pregnant, or is breast-feeding. Women with lupus should have every pregnancy closely monitored by their health care team, so that the safest decisions can be made about medication use and any other necessary treatments, both before, during, and after the birth.
All medicines must be taken exactly as prescribed! Forgetting to take the medicine, taking medicine in the wrong amounts or dosage, stopping a medicine, or adding dietary supplements without your doctor’s approval will affect how well the drugs work and whether your symptoms of lupus can be brought under control.
Managing lupus is a team effort. And since there often will be several physicians involved in your care, good communication is necessary among members of your health care team.
December 9, 2009 webchat transcript with Dr. Graciela Alarcón
November 30, 2009 podcast with Dr. Joan T. Merrill
requires Windows Media Player for viewing
November 23, 2009 webchat transcript with Dr. Sam Lim
Medication Management and Lupus
May 2008 webchat transcript with Dr. Joan T. Merrill
What Is New for Lupus Research and Treatment
December 2006 webchat transcript with Dr. Joan T. Merrill