With so much research about lupus and the sophistication of modern medical treatment, it seems natural to wonder if there is a panacea that can make lupus heal forever. Because lupus is episodic or recurrent, which makes the symptoms of lupus sometimes “disappear” but reappear if triggered by something. No doubt, lupus can hamper the quality of life of people who have it.
Is it true that lupus can be completely cured?
What causes lupus?
Lupus is a condition of chronic autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy tissues and organs. This causes a persistent level of inflammation.
Indirectly, this disease can affect almost every part of the body such as the heart, joints, brain, kidneys, lungs and endocrine glands. Lupus symptoms are also very similar to many other health conditions such as thyroid disorders, Lyme disease and fibromyalgia. Therefore, lupus can be very difficult to diagnose.
Can Lupus Be Cured?
As explained above, lupus is a type of chronic autoimmune disease. This means you will have this condition for life. The good news, lupus can be managed well to improve the quality of your life. There are a number of treatments, including simple things that you can do every day, that can make a big difference.
The thing to remember, lupus attacks in different ways for each person. So, the treatments and medications that are prescribed will be different according to their individual needs. For mild cases of lupus, medications can include painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
For more severe lupus, for example if it attacks internal organs, the doctor will prescribe stronger drugs to regulate the immune system while protecting organs such as the kidneys, heart and lungs from further attacks.
If you have lupus, you will usually be treated by a rheumatologist, an internist specializing in joint and muscle diseases. But, if lupus has caused damage to certain organs, your doctor may refer you to another specialist.
Common medications are prescribed to manage lupus symptoms
There is no panacea that can cure lupus immediately. But you can improve your condition with an early diagnosis and take certain medicines prescribed by your doctor to prevent damage to organs that are attacked by lupus.
There are many categories of drugs that doctors use to treat lupus. However, the Food and Drug Administration in America only approves specific drugs for lupus, such as the following:
- Corticosteroid drugs, including prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone and hydrocortisone
- Antimalarial drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine
- Belimumab monoclonal antibody drug
- Acthar (repository corticotropin injection) drug, which contains a natural ocurring hormone called ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
- Aspirin medicine
- And various other drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), immune modulation drugs (immunosuppressive), and anticoagulants
But usually, it can take months to years to find the right combination of drugs to control your lupus symptoms. Therefore, managing lupus is a lifetime commitment.
In addition to prescribing medications, your doctor will also develop a treatment plan based on your age, symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. The goal of each treatment plan is to:
- Reducing inflammation in the body caused by lupus
- Suppressing your overactive immune system
- Control symptoms such as joint pain and fatigue
- Minimize damage to organs