Medications for Lupus

There is no cure for Lupus. A chronic illness such as Lupus can be tamed by prescription drugs. Depressed-WomanLiving with Lupus is an unpredictable and frustrating challenge. Your life is already extremely busy, now just think about adding another duty to your todo list for the rest of your life. The thought of taking anti-inflammatory and corticosteroids daily to control Lupus can become stressful from time to time. Just getting out of bed is an extremely difficult task when living with lupus.

 

 

 

 

Types of medications

  • Steriods– Prednisone is a very common steriod that is used to treat an autoimmune disease such as Lupus. Steriods in creme form or tablet are very effective for mild or moderate features of lupus. Some rheumatologist will prescribe a high dose of this corticosteroid for a short period of time and soon after reduce its dose. These steriods can control lupus for some time however they can not cure any form of Lupus.
  • Acetaminophen– A very recognized Acetaminophen is Tylenol. Tylenol is used to reduce fevers and subdue pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for instance aspirin and ibuprofen can not reduce swelling, but are less likely to start off stomach upset and other side effects.  In a case of a mild Lupus flare up a doctor may require a patient to take acetaminophen to minimize any pain. A doctor can prescribed acetaminophen’s depending on the required dose .
  • Immunosuppressive– Immunosuppressive are medications that partially or completely suppresses the immune system response to foreign body invations. Azathioprine (Imuran), Mycophenolate mofetil (Cellcept),Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf), Methotrexate (Rheumatrex), Leflunomide (Arava), Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), Chlorambucil (Leukeran), Nitrogen mustard (Mustargen) are all immunosuppressive medications. Immunosuppressive can be given to patients in pill form, weekly injections or by intravenous (IV) pulse therapy (injection given monthly). Immunosuppressive medications are used to control more serious Lupus activity that affects major organs, including the kidney, brain, cardiovascular system, and lungs. 
  • Antimalarial– Antimalarial drugs such as  Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), Chloroquine (Aralen), Quinacrine (Atabrine) are used for controlling Lupus. Some Lupus patients will be on antimalarial for the rest of their lives. Anti-malarial medications have  improved muscle and joint pain, skin rashes, pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), pleuritis (inflammation of the lining of the lung), and other lupus symptoms such as fatigue and fever. These medications may also prevent lupus from spreading to certain organs, such as the kidney and central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord) and may help to reduce flares by as much as 50%.
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone– DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone that is sufficient in treating some lupus symptoms. Dehydroepiandrosterone has not been approved by the FDA in treating Lupus However DHEA has been very beneficial in assisting with hair loss (alopecia), joint pain, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction (difficulty thinking, memory loss, distractibility, difficulty in multitasking). Acne, facial hair growth, oily skin, and excessive sweating are all side effects of DHEA. In addition, DHEA can lowers  HDLs (“good” cholesterol) in some women. It can also increase estrogen levels in postmenopausal women, so it is important for women in this category to obtain routine cancer surveillance (mammograms, PAP smears).

Assorted_group_of_steroids,_with_needle,_syringe_and_pills All of the above medications can and will help anyone suffering from daily mild to severe Lupus flare ups. Along with these prescription and non prescription drugs it is proven that people who exercise while living with lupus build better muscle, have wee joint stiffness and controlled fatigue. A daily workout has been also proven to help with preventing weight gain. Prior to starting your physical routine please be sure to consult with your physician. Although working out is encouraged be mindful that some movements can be harmful to swollen joint and may cause muscle pain. There is hope for anyone living with Lupus.

What is Lupus?

Imagine living with an illness that flares up daily without any warnings? How about not being able to sleep at night due to severe bone and joint pains? What about enduring an extreme amount of pain on the inside and can’t express it to others?

Enjoying the sun has become a thing of the pass due to sunlight sensitivity. Imagine having lesions on your scalp that may lead to hair lost.  These are just a few of the battles someone with Lupus encounters daily.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease. It effects many areas of the body. The cause of this silent illness also known as the great mimicker is unknown. It’s symptoms come and go often. There is no cure for Lupus however researchers are hard at work trying to solve this cruel chronic mystery. There are four types of lupus,

The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism which is designed to protect the body from germs and viruses. mouth_pain Lupus causes the body’s immune system to attack itself. This autoimmune disease causes its defense army to attack healthy tissues and cells instead of destroying the unwanted invaders. In this case you will then experience joint pain, muscle tenderness and inflammation. The most terrifying characteristics of Lupus are its mimicking symptoms. Symptoms range and vary drastically from person to person. No two Lupus patients will have the same symptoms. Someone may have lesions on the neck and arms followed by arthritis. While someone else can encounter internal damage to important body organs. On the other hand there may be someone who’s Lupus only targets their mouth and causes severe tooth decay and extreme dry mouth.

 

 

 

 

It is common for Lupus to affects women ages 15-45 years. Did you know that Lupus is more common in African American and Native American women than in Caucasians, Asians and Hispanic women? It is a fact that majority of patients are woman. Men should be aware that they too can become diagnosed with Lupus.

Multi-ethnic group of young women: African, Asian, Indian and Caucasian.

Lupus is a very complex illness. We understand everyday is a battle, but with each new day come the strength and courage to fight back and live a very hopeful lifestyle all while battling this cruel mystery. Do not become discourage because you have Lupus. There is hope for women and men who are living with Lupus.

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Types of Lupus

Many people have limited to no knowledge on Lupus. Lupus is a very unpredictable chronic disorder. There are four types of Lupus, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Discoid Lupus, Drug-Induced Lupus and Neonatal Lupus. Lupus is very common in woman, but can be found in men as well. Lupus causes mild to severe pain in women and men daily.

The most familiar form of Lupus is Systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly known as SLE. SLE is notorius for causing aSLE lupus special facial rash called the malar rash also known as “the butterfly rash” located across the nose bridge and cheeks. The exposure to sunlight causes the rash to become irritated, red and painful. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is when the body’s immune system wrongfully attacks healthy tissues and cells. SLE affects the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and many other bodily organs. Experiencing oral complications such as extreme dry mouth, severe tooth decay and ulcers are all apart of a lupus flare. Many Lupus carriers develop arthritis, which causes the joints of the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees to become affected.

Common SLE symptoms                 

• Malar rash “Butterfly rash”
• General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
• Painful or swollen joints and muscle pain
• Unexplained fever
• Chest pain upon deep breathing
• Unusual loss of hair
• Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
• Swelling (edema) in legs or around eyes
• Mouth ulcers
• Swollen glands
• Extreme fatigue
• Mouth sores
• Sensitivity to sunlight
• Swollen lymph nodes

Discoid Lupus (CUTANEOUS) only affects the skin. This type of Lupus causes rashes and/or lesions, these rashes and/or lesions can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the face, neck and scalp. Lesions and rashes on the scalp may lead to hair lost. Many people who are diagnosed with Discoid Lupus develops SLE over time.

Discoid Lupus Symptoms

  • Lesions can appear anywhere on the body but commonly on the face, neck and scalp
Discoid Lupus
Discoid Lupus Skin lesions

Drug-Induced Lupus (DIL) Occurs in result to certain prescription drugs. Symptoms that occur during DIL are extremely similar to SLE symptoms. The pain caused by these medications that causes DIL vanish once the medication is discontinued. The symptoms are usually completely gone within 6 months however the Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) test (used to help detect lupus) may show positive for years after the symptoms are gone.

Pills

Neonatal Lupus  This form of lupus is very rare. In this case infants are affected by this form of lupus, which is found in newborns whose mother’s have been diagnosed with lupus. An infant who has Neonatal Lupus will have skin rashes followed by anemia. In some cases there have been infants who will have been faced with liver problems and mild to severe heart defects. Always looking on the bright side of this form of Lupus there are no permanent damages to any of  the infants and the symptoms go away in a few months.

Neonatal Lupus Symptoms

  • Skin rashes
  • Anemia
  • Affects the liver
  • Some cases serious heart defect

    Neonatal Lupus
    Neonatal Lupus