Treating Lupus with a Motley of Drugs and Lifestyle Changes
The treatments for lupus may vary from time to time, depending on the severity of the disease or flare-up of symptoms and also which parts of the body are affected.
- Treatment for lupus depends on your signs and symptoms.
- Over-the-counter NSAIDs may be used to treat pain.
- Medications used to treat malaria can help control lupus.
- Types of corticosteroids can counter the inflammation caused by lupus.
The severity of Lupus symptoms decides the type of treatment your doctor will prescribe for you. The treatment options will also take into account if the disease had affected your organs and the extent to which the symptoms are influencing your daily activities.
The symptoms of lupus can be controlled with self-care and medications. Self-care includes learning as much as possible about lupus, maintaining good communication with your doctor, and developing a healthy lifestyle.
Commonly used medications to treat lupus include:
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs such as naproxen and ibuprofen are available over-the-counter options. These are used to treat pain, swelling and fever associated with lupus. Strong doses of NSAIDs are available only through prescription. But, they can pose some side-effects such as stomach bleeding, kidney problems and an increased risk of heart problems.
Medicines such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) are used to treat malaria. These are useful in treating lupus. Side effects of anti-malarial drugs are an upset stomach and damage to retina (it very rare).
There are various types of corticosteroids such as Prednisone available to counter the inflammation of lupus. But these medications can put one at a risk of long term side-effects like weight gain, easy bruising, thinning of bone, high blood pressure and diabetes. The risk of side effects increases with higher doses and longer term therapy.
Drugs like cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), mycophenolate (Cellcept), leflunomide (Arava) and methotrexate (Trexall) can suppres the immune system and hence treat lupus. But everything comes at a price. The side-effects of these drugs can be increased risk of infection, decreased fertility, liver damage and cancer threat.
Apart from medical treatment, one can also treat lupus with some lifestyle changes and home remedies. Such as:
- Taking adequate rest is necessary. Lupus often results into persistent fatigue that may or may not be relieved by rest.
- Sun’s UV rays can aggravate the skin rash caused by lupus. Which is why, it is necessary to be sun smart by wearing protective clothes, hat, long sleeved shirt and sunscreens with minimum SPF 55.
- Exercise can help you recover from a flare, reduce your risk of heart attack, help fight depression and promote general well-being.
- Quit smoking to stop the effects of lupus on your heart and blood vessels from worsening.
- The importance of a healthy diet cannot be emphasized enough for holistic health. Consume fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Sometimes you may have dietary restrictions, especially if you have high blood pressure, kidney damage or gastrointestinal problems.
Talk therapy and support groups may help relieve depression and mood changes that may occur in patients with this disease. If you suffer from lupus, do not lose heart, take proper medicines and care.
Read more articles on Lupus.
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Oct 27, 2013
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