There is no cure for lupus, but treatment can help manage it. You may work with a rheumatologist. This is a doctor who specializes in lupus, arthritis, and other related diseases. You may also work with other kinds of doctors. These include specialists in kidney disease, blood disorders, immune disorders and heart problems. You may also meet with a social worker to help you manage your treatment plan. The goals of treatment include treating symptoms, preventing flare-ups of lupus, and helping reduce damage to the body.
Your health care provider may give you medicine to help treat symptoms. Medicines can’t cure lupus, but they can help prevent organ damage or suppress the disease. Your health care provider will prescribe one or more medicines to help you feel better. Be sure to take them as directed. You may be given medicines such as:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). These can be used to help relieve swelling, pain, and fever.
- Antimalarial medicine. A medicine used to prevent and treat malaria can help ease some lupus symptoms. It can treat fatigue, rashes, joint pain, and mouth sores. The medicine may also help prevent blood clots.
- Corticosteroid medicines. These can help people when lupus affects the kidneys, lungs, or heart, or nervous system.
- Medicines that suppress the immune system. These can help treat severe symptoms of lupus that has attacked organs.
- Other medicines. A type of medicine called a biologic may be an option. Clinical trials are also being done to test other medicines that may help people with lupus.
Talk with your health care providers about the risks, benefits and possible side effects of all medicines.
Lupus can also be managed by keeping a healthy lifestyle. Here are ways to take care of yourself:
- Get enough sleep. Aim for 8 to 10 hours a night. Take naps and breaks during the day.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise a few times a week, at least.
- Learn ways to reduce or manage stress.
- Stay out of the sun as much as you can. Wear clothes that cover your skin. Use sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher.
- Treat infections right away.
- Don’t smoke.
Work with your health care provider to manage your lupus. Get regular checkups and tests.
Children with lupus should not get vaccines with live viruses. This includes chickenpox, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and oral polio vaccines. Talk with your child’s health care provider about all vaccines.