Lupus, also referred to as systemic lupus erythematosus, is a long-term autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and discomfort in a number of parts of the body including the lungs, heart, liver, joints, and kidneys. Although there is no cure for lupus, early treatment can help with managing symptoms and the discomfort associated with the disease [1].

Some of the most common treatments used for people with lupus include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Corticosteroids

See also: Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Foods to Help Inflammation


What is the best medication for lupus?


As with many diseases, treatment for people with lupus is dependent on the particular case - this means that treatment will vary dependent on the stage as well as the specific signs and symptoms someone may be experiencing.

With this in mind, it’s not entirely possible to answer what the ‘best’ medication for lupus is, though it is possible to speak upon the popular medications used as well as the possible side effects associated with each.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs


Anti-inflammatory medicines are often used to treat pain, swelling, and inflammation that sometimes occur in certain cases of lupus. These are typically over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium [2]

Some side effects associated with NSAIDs include:

  • Kidney problems
  • Increased risk of heart problems

Hydroxychloroquine


Often known as an antimalarial drug as they were once used to treat malaria, hydroxychloroquine work in reducing the number of flare-ups and decreasing the potential damage from lupus over time

Some side effects associated with hydroxychloroquine include:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps

Corticosteroids


Corticosteroids are a form of medication used to control and lower inflammation in the body. High doses and long-term use can increase the risk of certain side effects.

Some side effects associated with corticosteroids include:

  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of infection

See also: What are the Different Types of Lupus?


Is chemo used for lupus treatment?


Chemotherapy drugs are just one of the few treatment options sometimes used to treat lupus. It’s important to remember that although similar medications may be used to treat both cancer and lupus - they are entirely unrelated conditions [3].

Methotrexate is just one of a few chemotherapy drugs used to treat both cancer and autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Also known as an ‘immunosuppressive drug’, when methotrexate is used on lupus patients, it’s typically given in pill form and in quite low doses [4]. Side effects associated with this particular drug include:

  • Hair loss
  • Dizziness
  • Decreased appetite

Other immunosuppressive drugs sometimes used in treating lupus include:

  • Mycophenolate mofetil
  • Cyclosporine
  • Azathioprine

It’s important to remember that treatment for lupus truly depends on the area of the body that has been affected and how severe the symptoms are. While a doctor may prescribe certain medications to one patient, these same medications may not be right for another.


What is the life expectancy for those with lupus?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early diagnosis and the right treatment can help reduce any negative effects that lupus can have on the body - improving the overall functionality and quality of life [5].

Late diagnosis and non-effective treatments can increase the risk of complications associated with lupus such as organ damage or cardiovascular disease, which can be a cause of premature death.


While the signs and symptoms experienced will depend on the part of the body that has been affected, there are some common indicators to know more about.

Common symptoms of lupus typically include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • A butterfly-shaped rash on the face
  • Skin lesions that may worsen when exposed to the sun
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

See also: What is Lupus? Symptoms, Causes, and Triggers


If you are at risk of a chronic inflammatory disease such as lupus, it’s important to keep an eye on your CRP levels as CRP tends to increase when inflammation is present in the body. This can be done by visiting your doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s at-home CRP Test can identify inflammation in the body and can assist in indicating your risk of degenerative disorders. Online results will be available within 5 days and our medical team will be available to answer any questions you may have during or after the process.

You should consider taking the test if:

  • You are at risk for chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or vasculitis
  • You are at risk for Crohn's disease
  • You are at risk for bowel disorders
  • You are overweight
  • You require a risk assessment for cardiovascular diseases
  • You require a risk assessment for cancers

See also: What Does High CRP Mean?



References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lupus. Online: Cdc.gov, 2018
  2. Mayo Clinic. Lupus. Mayoclinic.org, 2017
  3. Lupus Foundation of America. Medications used to treat lupus. Online: Lupus.org, 2013
  4. Lupus Foundation of America. Medications used to treat lupus. Online: Lupus.org, 2013
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lupus. Online: Cdc.gov, 2018