How to treat lupus (with pictures)

How to treat lupus (with pictures)
How to treat lupus (with pictures)

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory pathology of which there are different forms. It is also an autoimmune disease, which means that it is caused by a dysfunction of the immune system. This is because it attacks healthy cells in the body instead of destroying foreign bodies. The skin, joints, circulatory system and internal organs can be affected and destroyed. The causes of lupus are still unclear. That said, hormones, genetic predisposition, certain drugs or even the environment are identified as being factors that trigger the disease. To date, lupus is incurable, but there are different solutions to relieve the patient and help him cope with this pathology.


Part 1 of 3: Treat and prevent symptoms of lupus

Treat Lupus Step 1

Step 1. Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Lupus is a disease that manifests itself in painful flare-ups. During a mild flare, paracetamol or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help relieve pain and fight other symptoms such as fever.

  • Although available without a prescription, anti-inflammatory drugs should only be a passing solution. Indeed, taken in high doses and without monitoring, they can damage internal organs such as the liver, stomach and kidneys.
  • These drugs should only be taken with mild to moderate pain. In severe lupus, they can worsen the consequences of the disease.
Treat Lupus Step 2

2nd step. Protect yourself from the sun.

Hypersensitivity to the sun is a symptom of lupus that manifests as a rash. In addition, ultraviolet rays can worsen other symptoms such as fatigue or joint pain. Lupus patients must therefore protect themselves from the sun in two ways. Whatever the circumstances, always apply a sunscreen with a very high protection factor and repeat the application at least every two hours. In any case, it is best to moderate your exposure to the sun.

Treat Lupus Step 3

Step 3. Take steps to protect yourself from other illnesses

Lupus is linked to a failure of your immune system. You are therefore more vulnerable to infections and diseases, even the most common and mild. Strictly observe basic hygiene measures. Wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap. Change your bed sets frequently and clean your interior thoroughly. Avoid sharing personal items and stay away from sick people. Also, update your vaccines.

Treat Lupus Step 4

Step 4. Rest

One of the most difficult SLE symptoms to manage is fatigue. It is a sign of disease activity and is associated with joint pain. In other words, fatigue mainly occurs during a flare-up of the disease. However, it can also persist after a seizure. In this case, it would rather have a psychological cause.

  • To fight fatigue, put yourself in ideal conditions for a full night's sleep. Don't hesitate to take short naps and take breaks throughout the day.
  • Try to avoid situations that can cause stress or anxiety.
  • When fatigue is not directly related to lupus, it can be the result of deficiency, anemia, or a psychological factor. In this case, determine the exact cause of your fatigue in order to better manage it. If necessary, ask your doctor for help.
Treat Lupus Step 5

Step 5. Exercise

Cardiovascular disease is common in lupus. As a result, regular physical activity helps maintain your cardiovascular and muscular systems. In addition, it helps to improve moral well-being, which is important in the day-to-day management of a disease like lupus. Finally, while it is advisable to reduce sport in the event of a push or joint pain, moderate physical activity can promote remission.

Adapt the frequency and intensity of your physical activity to your state of health and to the manifestations of the disease. Avoid sports with high risk of shock or injury. As such, team sports and high impact sports are not recommended

Treat Lupus Step 6

Step 6. If you smoke, quit this habit

All the risks associated with smoking are increased in patients with SLE. They are thus more exposed to the risk of heart failure, atherosclerosis and lung disease. In addition, tobacco interacts with lupus, which becomes more resistant to certain drug treatments.

Treat Lupus Step 7

Step 7. Adjust Your Diet

While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for dealing with lupus and its consequences, the link between diet and disease management does exist. Choose foods that have anti-inflammatory properties like Omega-3. It is also advisable to favor lean proteins and increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

  • A healthy diet also helps control your weight, which helps relieve pressure on your joints.
  • Some foods can trigger joint pain, but they vary from patient to patient. Plan your diet with your doctor to avoid foods that could make your condition worse.
Treat Lupus Step 8

Step 8. Get psychological support and follow-up

Lupus has significant psychological consequences. It can lead to states of depression, sadness, discouragement or depression. The impact of illness on social and professional life can be overwhelming. In addition, drug treatment can induce or worsen psychological weakness. To help you fight the disease on a daily basis, do not hesitate to seek the help of your family and friends. Adapt your working conditions to be able to continue your professional activity.

Psychological follow-up can help you cope with the illness in a crisis and on a daily basis. You can also join an association of lupus patients to share your emotions and experiences

Part 2 of 3: Taking medication

Treat Lupus Step 9

Step 1. Have your doctor monitor you

Depending on the state of your disease, he may prescribe certain medications or refer you to a specialist. For example, a rheumatologist can help you relieve joint pain. It is important to have regular medical follow-up. This makes it possible to control the progression of the disease and to adapt your treatment. Also see your doctor if you start to have symptoms of a flare-up.

  • Extreme fatigue and fever may signal disease activity. However, these symptoms are not specific to lupus.
  • If your joints swell, stiffen, or become painful, see your doctor immediately. Indeed, joint inflammation is one of the most common symptoms of lupus.
  • Chest pain, cough, and difficulty breathing are symptoms of lung damage.
  • Mental signs such as confusion or memory problems can also be caused by lupus.
  • If you see skin signs such as plaques, see your dermatologist.
Treat Lupus Step 10

Step 2. Take corticosteroid therapy

These drugs are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. Prednisone and methylprednisone are prescribed for generalized lupus while cortisone is used when the disease is more localized. By its effectiveness on joint pain and on improving the patient's condition, corticosteroid therapy is the first drug response proposed. However, the side effects of corticosteroids are significant, requiring medical supervision and dosage adjustment.

  • Cortisone can cause weight gain, which requires adjustment of the diet. Some skin conditions can be seen, but are usually reversible.
  • Corticosteroid therapy weakens the immune system, which has a dual effect. It reduces the number of cells that attack the tissues, but it increases the vulnerability of the patient.
  • Cortisone causes high blood pressure which must be controlled by regular monitoring. Also note that long-term cortisone treatment increases cardiovascular risks.
  • Corticosteroids often cause osteoporosis. This bone fragility must then be compensated for by taking another treatment.
  • Corticosteroid therapy has ophthalmological consequences. It can cause glaucoma or cataracts.
Treat Lupus Step 11

Step 3. Learn about antimalarials

As the name suggests, these drugs are prescribed for the treatment of malaria. In case of failure of NSAIDs and corticosteroids, antimalarials also help to fight against lupus flare-ups. They can be used as a long-term treatment because they reduce pain and swelling in the joints, treat rashes and prevent relapses. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) is the most common molecule. Like all drugs, taking it has significant side effects.

  • Eye problems such as corneal changes or blurred vision are reported by patients.
  • Some patients have suffered from retinopathy as a result of taking this treatment, but cases are isolated.
  • Antimalarials can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, including nausea and vomiting.
  • More rarely, hydroxychloroquine can alter the emotional state of the patient, which is an effect to be taken into account in the case of lupus. He may then show signs of restlessness, impatience or anxiety.
  • Symptoms comparable to those of a flu-like condition may also appear. If you experience severe fatigue, suffer from fever and sore throat, see your doctor.
Treat Lupus Step 12

Step 4. Use immunosuppressants

This treatment is prescribed for severe forms of lupus. It aims to reduce the number and activity of white blood cells, cells of the immune system involved in the pathology. There are several immunosuppressants whose uses and modes of administration vary depending on the patient. The most commonly used drugs are cyclophosphamide (Endoxan®), azathioprine (Imurel®), mycophenolic acid (Cellcept®) and methotrexate (Methotrexate®). Since they destroy the immune system, these drugs are used as a last resort to limit lupus flare-ups.

  • The action of immunosuppressants directly exposes the patient to an increased risk of infection. It is therefore important to watch for any symptoms, regardless of their severity.
  • The liver is particularly involved in the elimination of immunosuppressants, which damages it prematurely.
  • The weakened immune system induced by immunosuppressive therapy directly increases the risk of developing cancer.
  • Some immunosuppressants have specific side effects. For example, cyclophosphamide puts you at risk of reduced fertility.
  • Recently, belimumab (Benlysta®) was approved as a treatment for lupus. This molecule is an immunosuppressant that targets one of the proteins involved in the production of failing cells. It is a biotherapy whose effectiveness is recognized on certain forms of lupus.
Treat Lupus Step 13

Step 5. Think about immunoglobulin infusions

This form of treatment is reserved for cases of lupus resistant to other solutions. Basically, it involves neutralizing the patient's defective cells with purified donor immunoglobulins. These are infused intravenously.

Both the mode of administration and the preparation of immunoglobulins are expensive and time-consuming processes. Intravenous immunoglobulin infusion also carries the risk of patient reaction and many symptoms

Treat Lupus Step 14

Step 6. Take anticoagulant therapy

One of the conditions associated with lupus is antiphospholipid syndrome. These form the membrane of cells and aggregate when attacked by failing immune cells. The clot that forms can block arteries and veins. The syndrome can therefore affect the limbs, brain or internal organs, which can have serious consequences. An anticoagulant treatment is then necessary.

Anticoagulants belong to different classes of active ingredients. It can be anti-vitamin K or heparin. Anticoagulant therapy should be taken under medical supervision, as it has many side effects. The most important of these is the risk of bleeding if the dosage is incorrect

Treat Lupus Step 15

Step 7. In some cases, you can take opioid pain relievers

These products are very effective in relieving extreme pain that no other treatment has been able to reduce. Morphine, codeine, and oxycodone belong to the class of opioid pain relievers. However, since taking them leads to many serious side effects, they are only prescribed as a last resort. Indeed, they can cause intestinal obstruction, urinary tract infections or poisoning. In addition to these risks, physical and psychological dependence is one of the major problems of taking opiates.

Treat Lupus Step 16

Step 8. Avoid certain medications

Certain substances can potentially cause lupus, but they are not necessarily contraindicated when the pathology is already declared. However, some products can make lupus symptoms worse.

  • Antibacterial sulfonamides have antibiotic action. However, side effects linked to the resistance of certain bacteria have been observed, which is all the more serious in patients with SLE.
  • Hydralazine is a vasodilator to treat high blood pressure, but this product causes the symptoms of lupus. Procainamide, used to treat cardiac arrhythmias, can cause antiphospholipid syndrome.
  • Birth control pills containing estrogen may increase disease activity.
  • Minocycline is an antibiotic primarily known to induce lupus. In a patient with SLE, this medication may worsen hypersensitivity to the sun or the risk of bacterial infection.
  • Alfalfa (or alfala) is a plant known for its many benefits. However, it does contain a compound, L ‑ canavanine, which can make lupus symptoms worse.

Part 3 of 3: Adopting Complementary Approaches

Treat Lupus Step 17

Step 1. Increase your intake of Omega-3

These fatty acids found in fish seeds and oils have an anti-inflammatory effect and help reduce cardiovascular risk. Tests have shown that consuming omega-3, at a rate of three grams per day, helps relieve symptoms of lupus. In consultation with your doctor and a nutritionist, you can take Omega-3 supplements in the form of fish oil capsules.

The side effects of Omega-3 are mainly digestive. They can cause belching, nausea, or bad breath

Treat Lupus Step 18

Step 2. Reduce corticosteroid use by taking dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

DHEA is a steroid hormone that is said to have interesting effects in the treatment of lupus. Studies are still ongoing, but it appears that DHEA improves patient well-being and reduces disease activity. The greatest advantage of DHEA is that it can totally or partially replace corticosteroid therapy and thus reduce its side effects.

Treat Lupus Step 19

Step 3. Take vitamin D supplements

Studies have found a link between vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune diseases. However, vitamin D is a regulator of immune function.In the case of SLE patients, the administration of vitamin D would reduce the deficient cells. Talk to your doctor.

Treat Lupus Step 20

Step 4. Incorporate turmeric in your dishes

Curcumin, found in this spice, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help relieve joint pain and digestive disorders. Note, however, that the absorption of turmeric by the body is low. It must be combined with piperine, a compound found in black pepper. If you are going to take turmeric, talk to your doctor first, as it may interact with your treatment.

Treat Lupus Step 21

Step 5. Try herbal remedies

Among them, astragalus, a plant from China, influences the immune system. However, since it stimulates it and can interact with your drug treatments, it is best to ask your doctor before consuming it. On the other hand, other plants such as nettle or white broth can be beneficial in fighting inflammation and modulating the immune system.


  • Smoking is an aggravating factor for lupus. If you are a smoker, it is therefore essential to quit.
  • Moderate your exposure to the sun to limit the risk of developing rashes. In any case, be sure to apply a highly protective sunscreen.


  • Lupus is linked to a failure of your immune system. A disease, even a common one such as the common cold, will therefore be more difficult to fight. If you experience symptoms, even mild ones, see your doctor.
  • Lupus is a progressive and unpredictable pathology. In addition, its consequences vary from patient to patient. Together with your doctor, set up the treatment that best suits your situation and stick to it.
  • If you use natural treatments based on food supplements, plants or essential oils, always seek advice from your pharmacist or doctor to avoid any interaction with your treatment.
  • Lupus mainly affects women of childbearing age. It can increase the risk of miscarriage and complicate a pregnancy. If you are planning to have a child, it is important to plan this event as well as possible.

Popular by topic