Although there is currently no cure for lupus most people can reduce their symptoms and maintain their body functions to a normal status with effective treatment. Over the past years, treatment for lupus has improved considerably a great deal.
Treatment for lupus depends on a person’s signs and symptoms. Determining whether your lupus signs and symptoms should be treated and what medications to use requires a careful discussion of the benefits and risks with your doctor. As your signs and symptoms flare and subside, you and your doctor have to establish what certain changes are required and if your medication dosages have to be modified.
What does Lupus Treatment include?
In general, there are certain ways you can treat lupus according to the severity of your disease. Lupus doesn’t affect each person in the same way therefore it is important to keep your health under medical surveillance and to discuss each body mutation with your personal doctor. Here is a list of treatments for lupus:
- Medications to reduce inflammation and activity of the immune system
- Balancing rest with exercise
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Drug Therapy
- Medications commonly used to treat lupus
- Lifestyle Changes
For most people with lupus, making positive lifestyle changes allow them to better manage the disease and improve their quality of life. It is very important to stay active as much as possible and make small changes each day. Preventive measures that can help you cope better with lupus include:
- Regular exercise that helps prevent muscle weakness and fatigue
- Immunizations to protect against specific infections
- Lifestyle adjustments, such as getting plenty of rest, reducing stress, eating a balanced diet and quitting smoking
- Avoiding excessive sun exposure and regularly applying sunscreens in order to reduce rashes and flares in lupus
Medication treatment for Lupus
Treatment depends on the type of symptoms you have and how serious they are. Patients with muscle or joint pain, fatigue, rashes and other problems that are not dangerous can receive a more conservative treatment that includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or commonly referred to as NSAIDs. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs decrease swelling, pain and fever. Because some of these NSAIDs can cause serious side effects like stomach bleeding or kidney damage it is imperative that you consult your doctor before taking them.
Patients with lupus develop skin rashes therefore many of them receive an antimalarial medication such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). Though these drugs prevent and treat malaria, they also help relieve some lupus symptoms, such as fatigue, rashes, joint pain or mouth sores. They also may help prevent abnormal blood clotting.
Patients with serious or life-threatening problems such as kidney inflammation, lung or heart involvement, and central nervous system symptoms need stronger treatments. This may include high-dose corticosteroids such as prednisone and drugs that suppress the immune system.
In 2011 the first drug for lupus, Benlysta (belimumab), was approved. The drug Benlysta (belimumab) works by reducing the body’s ability to attack its own tissues. Given monthly by intravenous infusion in a physician’s office, the new drug has an immediate effect for Burns. This exciting treatment provides hope that some of the other drugs that researchers are testing in patients will help lupus.