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Treatment Rheumatology


There is currently no cure for lupus. However, for most people, effective treatment can greatly reduce symptoms and help maintain normal body functions. Treatment often includes:

  • Medications to reduce inflammation and activity of the immune system
  • Balancing rest with exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy diet

Drug Therapy

Medications commonly used to treat lupus, include:

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) These drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, may relieve muscle and joint pain as well as arthritis.
  • Acetaminophen This is the main ingredient in Tylenol, a mild pain reliever.
  • Corticosteroids Synthetically produced corticosteroids, such as Prednisone, are used to reduce inflammation and suppress activity of the immune system.
  • Antimalarials These drugs, such as Plaquenil, help with symptoms of lupus and also may prevent major flares in other organs.
  • Immunomodulating Drugs These drugs, such as Imuran, Cellcept, Methotrexate and Cytoxan, suppress the immune system. They may allow a reduction in the dose of corticosteroids.

Lifestyle Changes

For most people with lupus, making positive lifestyle changes allow them to better manage the disease and improve their quality of life. Preventive measures include:

  • Regular exercise that helps prevent muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Immunizations to protect against specific infections
  • Lifestyle adjustments, such as getting plenty of rest, reducing stress, eating a balanced diet and quitting smoking
  • Avoiding excessive sun exposure or regularly applying sunscreens in order to reduce rashes and flares in lupus

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

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