Medications for Lupus
There is no cure for Lupus. A chronic illness such as Lupus can be tamed by prescription drugs. Living 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).
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.