Sonia Jones ND from the Haven Spa and Health Clinic
They say there is no cure for systemic lupus.
Goal is to relieve suffering, reduce inflammation and protect the organs.
Many patients with mild symptoms may need no treatment or only intermittent courses of anti-inflammatory medications.
Conventional treatments for more serious illness involving damage to internal organ(s) may require high doses of corticosteroids in combination with other medications that suppress the body’s immune system, immune-suppressants.
Patients with systemic lupus need more rest during the periods the disease is more active.
Poor sleep patterns develop, contributing to fatigue. During these periods, carefully prescribed exercise is still important to maintain muscle tone and range of motion in the joints.
NSADs Non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs are helpful in reducing inflammation and pain suffered in muscles, joints, and other tissues. These could be anything – aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and sulindac.
NSAIDs common side-effects but can vary from person to person – stomach upset, abdominal pain, ulcers, and even bleeding ulcers. Sometimes to counteract these side-effects medication are prescribe at the same time as NSAIDs, such as misoprostol.
The story on corticosteroids is altogether quite different from NSAIDs in reducing inflammation and restoring function when the disease is active. Corticosteroids are used when internal organs are affected. This medication is extremely powerful, and has some serious side-effects when given over prolonged periods of time, and the doctor will try to monitor the activity of the disease in order to use the lowest doses that are safe. Side effects of corticosteroids include weight gain, thinning of the bones and skin, infection, diabetes, facial puffiness, cataracts, and even deterioration and death of tissue in the large joints.
Then there are the anti-malarial medications (like hydroychloroquine) used to treat the fatigue, skin, and diseased joints. Side effects are less common – diarrhea, upset stomach, and eye-pigment changes. Research has found it decrease the frequency of blood clots.
Medications that suppress immunity – immuno-suppressive drugs, are also called cyto-toxic drugs. Immunosuppressive medications are used for treating patients with more severe lupus disease. All immunosuppressive medications can seriously depress blood-cell counts and increase risks of infection and bleeding. Another side effect of the drugs are liver toxicity, or possible impair kidney function.
At the 2007 national Rheumatology meeting, there was a paper presented suggesting that dietary supplements with essential fatty acids help patients with lupus by decreasing disease activity.
Take a long hard look into steroids and immunosuppressents – learn everything you can about them and try everything ease first. Taking these two types of particular medication is a very big discision – we have seem people who’s side- effects have been worse than their condition. There quality of life in some instances is worse – some side-effects are truly serious.