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Treatments for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
There is no cure for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), instead treatment is focused on:
- Preventing flare ups
- Treating flare ups when they occur
- Decreasing the chance of complications, such as organ damage
- Maintaining or improving quality of life
Exact treatments will depend on individual's overall health, the areas of the body that are affected, and the impact of symptoms on life. Specialists may be needed, such as a rheumatologist to manage joint issues, cardiologist for heart complications, or nephrologist for kidney problems.
SLE is different in everyone. No matter which symptoms are present, the earlier SLE and SLE flare ups are detected and treated, the better it can be managed. Keeping in touch with the medical team is important to help find the treatments that work best.
The goals of SLE treatment include:
SLE treatments may involve the following:Lifestyle changesMedicationsAlternative and complementary therapies
Guidelines for referral and management of systemic lupus erythematosus in adults. American College of Rheumatology Ad Hoc Committee on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Guidelines. Arthritis Rheum. 1999;42(9):1785-1796.
Lupus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Lupus/default.asp. Updated May 2013. Accessed December 29, 2014.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 24, 2014. Accessed December 29, 2014.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal%5Fand%5Fconnective%5Ftissue%5Fdisorders/autoimmune%5Frheumatic%5Fdisorders/systemic%5Flupus%5Ferythematosus%5Fsle.html. Updated October 2013. Accessed December 29, 2014.
Treating lupus. Lupus Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.lupus.org/answers/topic/treating-lupus. Updated December 29, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2015
- Update Date: 05/20/2015