For People with Lupus, Discontinuing Glucocorticoids May Be Possible
When the medication dose is decreased gradually, many people with lupus who have reached clinical remission are able to effectively transition off of glucocorticoids (a type of steroid drug commonly used in the treatment of lupus). A new study shows that even people with severe organ involvement can effectively discontinue use of the medication.
Researchers assessed data from 73 people with lupus who were slowly taken off of glucocorticoids, most of whom (49) were classified as having prior severe organ involvement. Overall, more than 80% of the people had one full year without a disease flare, and more than 70% went nearly three years (1,000 days) without a flare-up. Prior severe organ involvement did not affect the time to the first flare after stopping glucocorticoids.
Long-term use of glucocorticoids for the treatment of lupus is very common, however, it has also been associated with side effects like high blood pressure, diabetes, infection and osteoporosis. The latest findings suggest that more people with lupus, including those with prior severe organ involvement, can slowly taper off of the medication and ultimately discontinue it entirely without a significantly increased risk of disease flare-ups. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your treatment plan.
Learn more about medications used to treat lupus.