Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Skin rashes are a common symptom of lupus.

Skin rashes are a common symptom of lupus.
beginning of content

Lupus treatment

2-minute read

The symptoms and complications of lupus are treatable. Most people with lupus are able to manage the disease and enjoy a good quality of life with effective treatments and the decision to follow a healthy lifestyle. You will get better results if you can work closely with your general practitioner and specialist.

Treatment for lupus is very individual and medicines are given depending on the severity of the disease and the organs involved.

Medicine most commonly used to manage a person with lupus include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen or Cox-2 inhibitors to reduce inflammation, muscle aches and arthritis.
  • Drugs used to treat malaria such as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine that can also be added to reduce joint pain, skin rashes and fatigue
  • Corticosteroids such as Prednisolone that are very effective at reducing inflammation and will be used in higher doses to treat more serious complications of lupus, for example when the heart, lungs or nervous system are affected

Drugs to suppress the immune system, such as methotrexate or cyclophosphamide, that are used for more severe disease under the strict supervision of a larger medical team as these medicines can have serious side effects.

People with lupus need to take good care of their health, and maintain a healthy lifestyle so it's important to monitor and control other risk factors for ill-health such as smokinghigh blood pressure, high blood fats, high blood sugars and being overweight.

Last reviewed: August 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) - Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) symptoms can be vague and vary from person to person, and consequently diagnosis can be difficult. However, once diagnosed, a combination of prescribed treatment and lifestyle adjustments enables most people with lupus to enjoy an almost normal life.

Read more on ASCIA – Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website

About lupus | Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Read about the risks, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of lupus and Garvan's research for better management and outcomes.

Read more on Garvan Institute of Medical Research website

Learn about lupus, symptoms & treatment - MSK

Do you have lupus? Find out more about your musculoskeletal condition, how you can manage, where to find support & how MSK can help you.

Read more on Musculoskeletal Australia website

Lupus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or simply “lupus” is a condition that can cause inflammation in many parts of the body.

Read more on Autoimmune Resource and Research Centre website

Autoimmune diseases - Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

Autoimmune diseases are a broad range of related diseases in which a persons immune system produces an inappropriate response against its own cells, tissues and/or organs. This results in inflammation and damage. There are over 80 different autoimmune diseases, ranging from common to very rare. These diseases can be localised to a single organ or tissue, or generalised (systemic), affecting many body organs and tissues.

Read more on ASCIA – Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website

Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) Arthritis Australia

Systemic lupus erythematosus (also called SLE or lupus) is an autoimmune condition

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Cutaneous lupus erythematosus - ACD

Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) is a form of lupus that predominantly affects the skin. The most common forms are subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE)

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Lupus Nephritis

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, often referred to as lupus, is a disease of the immune (natural defence) system that can affect many parts of the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, and brain. It can range from a mild skin rash to a serious life‐threatening   disease.

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Lupus nephritis (kidney inflammation) information | myVMC

Lupus nephritis, a hereditary kidney disease which affects the glomeruli, is caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a systemic autoimmune disorder.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Neonatal lupus erythematosus - ACD

Neonatal lupus is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when an antibody is transferred from the mother to the baby.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo