Systemic lupus erythematosus, or commonly known as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects your body. Lupus mainly affects your joints, eyes, skin, and organs. People suffering from this autoimmune disease often experience severe pain, inflammation, rashes, and fatigue. These symptoms are sometimes more active, which is called a flare-up.
It is important to note that a cure for lupus has not been found yet. All the medications used in the treatment of lupus aims at alleviating its symptoms.
Here are some of the medications used in alleviating lupus symptoms.
Doctors often prescribe NSAIDs for managing pain and inflammation in lupus patients. OTC NSAIDs are also available that you can use for lupus management. However, you should only use prescription NSAIDs if you have kidney disease. Diclofenac, celecoxib, etodolac, ketorolac, diflunisal, etc. are some of the common prescription NSAIDs. It is not recommended to use NSAIDs in high dosages because it can cause stomach ulcers.
Also known as glucocorticoids, these lupus medications can help in alleviating the symptoms of lupus very effectively. The working of corticosteroids is similar to that of cortisol, which is the hormone produced by your body. Corticosteroids can help to fight inflammation and boost your immune system. Cortisone, prednisone, and hydrocortisone are the three main corticosteroids. You should note that corticosteroids may cause side effects like weight gain, irritability, acne, swelling, etc. when used in high doses.
Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
DMARDs are often used in the treatment of many autoimmune diseases, including lupus. These medications help to suppress the overactive immune system and thereby preventing the immune system from attacking the cells and tissues in your body. DMARDs reduce inflammation in people with lupus effectively. Azathioprine, hydroxychloroquine, and cyclosporine are the major DMARDs available in the market.
Even though NSAIDs are often recommended for lupus treatment, they are not very effective in alleviating the pain associated with the condition. Opioids, on the other hand, can alleviate the pain very effectively. However, most doctors do not usually recommend it because it can cause addiction. Oxycodone, codeine, and hydrocodone, etc. are some of the opioids used in lupus treatment.
The risk of blood clots is higher in people suffering from lupus. Even though anticoagulants do not treat lupus specifically, they are a part of lupus care. Doctors prescribe these drugs to make your blood thin. Some of the most common anticoagulants are apixaban, edoxaban, low-dose aspirin, warfarin, heparin, rivaroxaban, etc.