Ok, so you’ve been diagnosed with lupus.  What now?



What are some of the prescribed medications for lupus and how do I know what is right for me? 

We hope to broadly answer some of your most common questions in this blog, delving deeper into these specific issues in subsequent blogs.  While we don’t propose to be doctors or even know what type or severity of lupus you have, we will attempt to give a fairly wide scope of information that can lead you to ask your medical professional what is right for you.  Health professionals and researchers continue to develop and look for new ways to manage, treat, and hopefully one day, cure lupus. 
Currently there are a number of medications for managing lupus, depending on the type of lupus you are diagnosed with and all of this information can be confusing at best and even overwhelming.  A close relationship with your physician will help determine the best course of action for your specific lupus symptoms. No two lupus patients are the same.
There are many types of lupus but for the simplicity of this blog’s purpose, we will just be speaking of the two most common, and how they are being treated and managed today.
For more information about the disease of lupus please click on this link to another one of our blogs:What is Lupus?

Here are the two main types of lupus:


(Sometimes generically referred to as SLE, systemic lupus erythematosus) is an autoimmune disease, one that takes on several forms and can affect any part of the body, but is most commonly attacks the skin, joints, the heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain.  This is the most common type of lupus.

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

In discoid lupus, chronic inflammatory sores develop on the face, ears, and scalp and on other body areas as well. People with lupus know the disease can affect various parts of their body, both inside and out, in a variety of ways. But one of the clearest signs that a person has developed the disease is the way it affects the skin (cutaneous disease). 

To see lupus rash images, click here.

Some common symptoms of lupus

Lupus Signs and SymptomsFor a complete list see the Lupus Symptoms page on our website.

Overlap Diseases

Many lupus patients will often also suffer from overlap diseases requiring separate medical regimens to treat those specific conditions.  Some of the most common overlap diseases are: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Mixed Connective Tissue Disorders, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s and Raynaud’s Phenomenon.

Overlap Diseases Graphic with Raynauds403s374


The Most Common Lupus Medications

Lupus MedicationsAs stated above the treatment depends entirely on the specific type of lupus, and your
signs and symptoms.  The determination for which medication or course of treatment should involve careful and thoughtful discussion with your medical professional to find what is right for you.  Depending on whether you are in a flare and need active and more aggressive management, or if your signs and symptoms have subsided, you and your doctor will need to be continually regulating your lupus medication and treatment, but these are the most common forms of medication.

The first new medication in 50 years for the treatment of lupus, approved in 2011 is Benlysta.  It is a human monoclonal antibody used for the treatment of patients with active, autoantibody-positive, SLE who are receiving standard therapy.  It is given as an intravenous infusion and targets specific immune cells, rather  than other therapies that suppress the entire immune system.  Benlysta is not an option for everyone, you will need to discuss with your doctor if it is right for you. With help in finding a physician in your area, check out our handy referral network

How do you know which one is right for you?  What if the side effects are worse than the symptoms?
 And what really is the best approach to taking medications for lupus?  

Choosing the Right Lupus Medication
All of this information can be daunting. Good communication between you and your medical provider(s) is very important. Our other blog on lupus medications has great tips to assist you in asking the right questions to your physician(s) so that you are able to make the best decisions for your health and well being.

Are There Any Alternative Lupus Medicines and/or Therapies?

The simple answer is yes, there are.  The more complex answer is that they may not be right for you.  Sometimes alternative therapies and lupus medications can be of benefit, often used in conjunction with traditional medications. It is very important to discuss these options with your doctor before initiating any treatment on your own, as they may interfere or adversely react with your conventional medications.  Here is a short list of those alternative treatments:  

Some complementary and alternative treatments for lupus include:

We hope that this blog has been a little bit of streamlined information to help you on your journey of lupus management and even direct you to some options you may have not known about. For even more in depth information on topics relevant to your needs, please see the list of categories on the right or type your topic into the search bar on the upper right of your screen!

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Article by : Karrie Sundbom

Karrie is the Digital Marketing Manager at Molly's Fund and responsible for innovating content for all of Molly's Funds online communications, creating memes and graphics, writing the MFFL Newsletter and main lupus blogs, as well as developing and managing the content for all of our social media platforms. Connect with Karrie on LinkedIn and Google+ .
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