What medications are available to treat symptoms of lupus in children?

Many medications are used to treat the symptoms of lupus; however, most are used off-label, meaning that doctors have found the medication helpful for people with an illness or condition other than the one for which is was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The medications currently approved for treating adults with lupus are: aspirin; antimalarials, such as Plaquenil®; corticosteroids, such as prednisone; and Benlysta® (belimumab), approved in 2011.

Because lupus is different for each person, it can take some time before your child’s doctors find the right combination of medicines to keep lupus under control.

As children with lupus grow older, it is useful for them to be aware of medication side effects. Some of these may cause changes in the outward appearance, and sometimes there can be health complications. Some children may find it difficult to discuss side effects with parents. Other children may feel embarrassed by all of the attention they are receiving. You can suggest that your child talk to the nurse at the doctor’s office, or another member of health care team.

Medically reviewed on August 16, 2013

This article was published by the Lupus Foundation of America Office.