Medicine, medicine and more medicine
Finally diagnosed in 1991, my first course of medicine was Prednisone and Naprosyn. Prednisone is a corticosteroid used for many chronic ailments. It aids in reducing inflammation and also weakening the immune system; immunosuppressant. Why would anyone want to weaken their immune system? Because in the cause of an autoimmune disease the body itself is attacking its own healthy tissue. Naprosyn aids mostly in reversing the inflammation in the joints.
From then until now I've been treated with Plaquenil, Imuran (which I'm on now), Cytoxin, Cellcept and Rituxan.
NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs):Help to reduce inflammation and pain in muscles, joints, and other tissues. Examples of these are: aspirin, ibuprofen or naprosyn.
Corticosteroids: are stronger than the NSAIDs in reducing inflammation and restoring function when the disease is active. Corticosteroids are particularly helpful when internal organs are affected. This type of medication can be prescribed by mouth or given intravenously. Unfortunately, corticosteroids have serious side effects when given in high doses over long periods of time. Side effects of this type of drug includes weight gain, thinning of the bones and skin and diabetes.
Plaquenil: is an antimalarial medication found to be most effective for SLE patients with fatigue, skin involvement, and joint disease. Consistently taking Plaquenil can prevent flare-ups of lupus. Side effects of Plaquenil are said to be uncommon but they can include diarrhea, upset stomach and or eye pigment changes.
Cytotoxic Drugs: Medications suppress immunity (immunosuppressive medications). Immunosuppressive medications are used for treating patients with more severe manifestations of SLE, such as damage to internal organs. Examples of this type of drug are Imuran, and Cytoxan.
There are but a few more medications including some that target B-Cells, which are said to be responsible for the immune response like Rituxan. But as I said before YOU must be proactive in your own treatment. Everybody is different and so you must work with you doctors to figure out which regiment will work for you. Unfortunately, when I was diagnosed Lupus was still so new that we were always reacting to the flares instead of being proactive with the disease. As a result I was treated with high doses of Prednisone often and by the age of 21 I had a total hip replacement.
Don't worry, people can't notice and are quite surprised when I tell them that I have had a hip replacement and truthfully medicine and treatment for Lupus has significantly expanded.