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Lupus

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Treatment

There is currently no cure for lupus, although many of those affected may experience remissions of symptoms between flare-ups. The goals of treatment are to alleviate symptoms, to minimize the occurrence of flare-ups, and to minimize and address the development of complications associated with lupus.

To help decrease the number of flare-ups, people with lupus should get sufficient rest, exercise, and should minimize stress and avoid exposure to sunlight. If someone notices that a particular substance makes her symptoms worse, then she should avoid exposure to it.

Medications can be given to relieve pain, minimize inflammation, and address complications. The most common drugs offered are nonsteroidal anti-inflamatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen, antimalarial drugs, which have been found to be useful in treating lupus, and corticosteroids. In more aggressive cases, immunosuppressive drugs may be used.

People should work closely with their health care provider and with specialists as needed, such as a rheumatologist (a specialist in autoimmune disorders), to develop a treatment plan that is effective for them. This plan is likely to change over time due to changes in a person's symptoms, general state of health, and as new treatments become available. Women wanting to become pregnant should talk to their practitioner about their health and the medications they are taking. Some treatments are safer than others for the fetus during pregnancy.

Research is ongoing to better understand the disease process of lupus as well as the role of genetics and to identify potentially useful biomarkers for detecting lupus as well as new, effective treatments.

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