Lupus Treatment

There is no cure for lupus, but it is treated in many ways. You may work with a rheumatologist. This is a doctor who specializes in lupus, arthritis, and other related diseases. You may also work with other kinds of doctors. These include specialists in kidney disease, blood disorders, immune disorders, and heart problems. You may also meet with a social worker to help you manage your treatment plan. The goals of treatment include treating symptoms, preventing flare-ups of lupus, and helping reduce damage to the body.

Your doctor may give you medication to help treat symptoms. Medications can't cure lupus, but they can help prevent organ damage or suppress the disease. Your doctor will prescribe one or more medications to help you feel better. Be sure to take them as directed. You may be given medications such as:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). These can be used to help relieve swelling, pain, and fever.
  • Antimalarial medicine. A medicine used to prevent and treat malaria can help ease some lupus symptoms. It can treat fatigue, rashes, joint pain, and mouth sores. The medication may also help prevent blood clots. You may be given hydroxychloroquine, quinacrine, chloroquine, or a combination of these.
  • Corticosteroid medicines. These can help people when lupus affects the kidneys, lungs, or heart, or nervous system.
  • Drugs that suppress the immune system. These can help treat severe symptoms of lupus that has attacked organs.
  • Other medications. A type of medicine called a biologic may be an option. Clinical trials are also being done to test other medications that may help people with lupus.

Talk with your health care providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medications.

Lupus can also be managed by keeping a healthy lifestyle. Here are ways to take care of yourself:

  • Get enough sleep. Aim for 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night. Take naps and breaks during the day.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise a few times a week, at least.
  • Learn ways to reduce or manage stress.
  • Stay out of the sun as much as you can. Wear clothes that cover your skin. Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Treat infections right away.
  • Do not smoke.

Work with your doctor to manage your lupus. Be sure to see your doctor for regular checkups and tests.

Children with lupus should not receive vaccines with live viruses. This includes chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and oral polio vaccines. Talk with your child's health care provider about all vaccines.

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