What means are available to treat lupus?

The treatment of lupus involves several therapeutic means:

 Drugs (see Annex 4): these are molecules whose purpose is to decrease, or modulate, the hyperactivity of the immune system, as well as the inflammation.

For articular skin forms, we use: painkillers (analgesics), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), synthetic antimalarials, sometimes low corticosteroid therapy, and / or methotrexate in a weekly dose if the lupus is articular.

For severe visceral forms, we use: hydroxychloroquine , corticosteroid therapy and immunosuppressive treatments, especially in glomerulonephritis or severe neurological damage.

Healthy Lifestyle

Patients must learn to avoid factors that can activate their lupus:

Avoid exposure to the sun, and UV in general: wearing long sleeves and a hat is recommended, and most importantly, it is necessary to use strong sunscreens.

Beware of oral contraceptives containing oestrogens.

Quit smoking since smoking not only increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also decreases the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, and even increases the risk of having lupus.

Take your medications, especially cortisone...

Compliance with medical prescriptions (adherence to treatment) is essential: lupus is a chronic disease and, often, over time, patients tend to interrupt several medications, mainly due to lassitude. This treatment interruption (poor adhesion), more or less prolonged, exposes to a significant risk of flare of the lupus disease, and therefore to a risk of negative consequences.

Therapeutic education of the patient is therefore fundamental. Patients must know how to recognise the warning signs of reactivation of their lupus. This is an individual learning process as the signs might defer person to person


There are three kinds of therapeutic means to manage lupus:

  • Medications: hydroxychloroquine, and sometimes cortisone, immunosuppressants and biotherapies, to control the autoimmune disorder of the disease.
  • The healthy lifestyle, to avoid factors that can activate lupus.
  • Therapeutic education, to know how to recognise the warning signs of a lupus flare.

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