Medications are often used to treat Lupus. You may take one or more medications depending on your symptoms. Below is a list of common types of medicines used to treat lupus.
- Corticosteroids treat pain and swelling caused by lupus. An example of a corticosteroid is prednisone (Rayos). They are usually used for a few weeks or months. The dose is then slowly lowered and stopped.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are a long-term treatment. An example of a DMARD is hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). It may take three to six months for DMARDs to work. Corticosteroids are often used together with DMARDs to decrease symptoms. DMARDs are the first line of treatment for almost all lupus patients.
- Biologics treat lupus when other medications do not work. An example of a biologic is belimumab (Benlysta). Although Biologics are newer medications, they are safe to take. Doctors have continued to study biologics to see how well they treat lupus.
- Calcineurin inhibitors treat swelling caused by lupus. They are used when lupus affects the kidneys. They are also used when other treatments are not helping. This is also safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Examples of calcineurim inhibitors are:
- cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, SandIMMUNE)
- tacrolimus (Astagraf XL, Envarsus XR, Prograf)
Treatment helps decrease symptoms and stops lupus from getting worse. Finding the right treatment plan for you can take time. You may need to try more than one medication or a combination of different medications. To find what works for you, see your doctor regularly to check if your treatment is working. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms while using new treatments. Your doctor may change your medications depending on how you are doing. This way, you and your doctor can find a treatment plan that works for you.
If lupus is making you cry, give steroids, DMARDs, or biologics a try!