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.
Medications most commonly used to manage a person with lupus include:
- Non-steroidal antiinflammatory 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 methotrexateor cyclophosphamide, that are used for more severe disease under the strict supervision of a larger medical team as these medications are also used in cancer care.
People with lupus need to take good care of their health, and maintain a health lifestyle so it's important to monitor and control other risk factors for ill-health such as smoking, high blood pressure, high blood fats, high blood sugars and being overweight.
Last reviewed: November 2016