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What is the Treatment for Lupus?

Explore effective lupus treatments, from NSAIDs to biologics. Understand their benefits, side effects, and the importance of healthcare guidance.

  • 21 Feb 2024
  • 3 min read

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks healthy tissue, and can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs. It can cause many symptoms, like joint pain, fatigue and skin rashes. While there is no cure for lupus, different treatments can help manage the symptoms. In this article, we will explore the different approaches to lupus treatment

Treatment of Lupus

Lupus treatment options depend on the patient’s specific signs and symptoms. Treatment usually involves the use of prescribed medicines like:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 

Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, may be used to treat mild pain and swelling in joints and muscles associated with lupus. These medicines have certain side effects, which may include stomach bleeding, kidney problems and an increased risk of heart problems.

  • Corticosteroids 

Prednisone and other corticosteroid types may help reduce swelling, tenderness, and pain. These medicines in higher doses can calm the immune system, but at the same time, have certain side effects like weight gain, easy bruising and thinning bones. 

  • Anti-malarial drugs

Medicines that prevent or treat malaria also treat symptoms like joint pain and skin rashes. The two common anti-malarial drugs are hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine phosphate, which can help to stop lupus flares and may help people with lupus live longer.

  • BLyS-specific inhibitors

BlyS-specific inhibitors are used to treat lupus by blocking the action of specific abnormal B cells in the body. The drug used to treat lupus symptoms is belimumab.

  • Immunosuppressive agents/chemotherapy. 

Immunosuppressants are medications that may be used to treat severe cases of lupus, as these suppressants hold back your immune system and stop the patient from being as active. Immunosuppressants such as azathioprine, and mycophenolate can help prevent tissue damage and inflammation.

  • Biologics

Certain medicines like belimumab and rituximab can be administered intravenously in people living with lupus to reduce the symptoms. These medicines are only recommended when other medicines are not helping in treatment as these medicines have some side effects like nausea, depression, diarrhoea and infections.

  • Other medicines

People living with lupus are also at risk for blood clots that can further cause stroke and heart attack. Anticoagulants such as warfarin and heparin are prescribed to prevent your blood from clotting too easily. 

Also read:


Lupus can be a challenging condition to diagnose and treat. Dealing with these conditions are frustrating and tiring due to the pain, inflammation and irritation throughout your body.  It is important to talk to your healthcare provider and ask questions about how to deal with the situation, as well as customised options for lupus treatment. Moreover, having adequate health insurance is paramount in supporting those with lupus to receive the necessary treatments and support for them to lead healthy lives.

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