Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain, skin rashes and tiredness. Unfortunately, there is no cure for lupus, but there are treatments and medical approaches available that are designed to help relieve its symptoms. These treatments are usually most effective when lupus is diagnosed early.
What are the current treatment options available for lupus?
As there is no cure for lupus, the goals of treatment are:
To prevent flare-ups
To manage symptoms
To reduce the chances of organ damage and other health problems
There are a number of treatment plans available for lupus, so once you receive your diagnosis, your GP/specialist will be able to start you on a course of treatment that is appropriate for the severity of your condition.
Lupus can generally be treated using:
Anti-inflammatory medicines, also known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), are typically used to relieve pain as well as reduce inflammation. In some cases, they can even bring down high temperatures. For the treatment of lupus, it’s typically used to reduce the inflammation around the joints that causes swelling and pain. Arguably the most well-known NSAID is ibuprofen.
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-rheumatic drug and is usually prescribed in tablet form for those with lupus. It tackles systemic lupus by decreasing the activity of the immune system and therefore slowing down the rate at which the immune system attacks healthy parts of the body, such as the joints.
Steroids come in multiple forms and can help manage the symptoms of lupus. Usually prescribed as either tablets, injections or creams depending on your specific symptoms, they help to reduce kidney inflammation and soothe skin rashes.
How to managing lupus symptoms
In severe cases of lupus, there are two medicines called rituximab and belimumab that can be prescribed. These target the immune system and are used to reduce the number of antibodies in the blood.
As lupus is a long-term condition that cannot be cured, your doctor may also give you some advice on how to live with and manage it. Examples of the things you can do include using higher factor sunscreen (50+), pacing yourself to avoid tiredness (but also remaining active), wearing hats in the sun and eating a healthy and balanced diet.
To find out more about how you can get help managing your lupus symptoms, contact us at our Harley Street clinic today!