Medications for Lupus…What is right for you?
Ok, so you’ve been diagnosed with lupus. What now?
What are some of the prescribed medications for lupus and how do I know what is right for me?
The Two Main Types of Lupus
Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
- A psoriasis-like lesion with red scaly patches on the arms, shoulders, neck, and trunk and fewer patches on the face.
- A red ring-shaped lesion with a slight scale on the edges.
To see lupus rash images, click here.
For a complete list, see the Lupus Symptoms page on our website.
Many lupus patients will often also suffer from overlap diseases requiring separate medical regimens to treat those specific conditions. Some of the most common overlap diseases are: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Mixed Connective Tissue Disorders, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s and Raynaud’s Phenomenon.
Common Lupus Medications
As stated above the treatment depends entirely on the specific type of lupus, and your signs and symptoms. The determination for which medication or course of treatment should involve careful and thoughtful discussion with your medical professional to find what is right for you. Depending on whether you are in a flare and need active and more aggressive management, or if your signs and symptoms have subsided, you and your doctor will need to be continually regulating your lupus medication and treatment, but these are the most common forms of medication.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Antimalarial Drugs like Plaquenil
- Immune Suppressants
How do you know which one is right for you? What if the side effects are worse than the symptoms? And what really is the best approach to taking medications for lupus?
Are There Any Alternative Lupus Medicines and/or Therapies?
The simple answer is yes, there are. The more complex answer is that they may not be right for you. Sometimes alternative therapies and lupus medications can be of benefit, often used in conjunction with traditional medications. It is very important to discuss these options with your doctor before initiating any treatment on your own, as they may interfere or adversely react with your conventional medications. Here is a short list of those alternative treatments:
Some complementary and alternative treatments for lupus include:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Supplements containing this hormone have been shown to reduce the dose of steroids needed to stabilize symptoms in some people who have lupus.
- Flaxseed. Flaxseed contains a fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which may decrease inflammation in the body. Some studies have found that kidney function may improve in lupus patients who have kidney problems. Abdominal pain and bloating can be side effects of taking flaxseed.
- Fish Oil. Fish oil supplements that contain the Omega-3 fatty acid, may be beneficial for people with lupus. Preliminary studies have shown some promise but more study is still needed. Nausea, belching and a fish taste in the mouth are some side effects you may experience while taking fish oil supplements.
- Vitamin D. People with lupus have shown some benefits from taking Vitamin D supplements
Author: Karrie Sundbom
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