Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Treatments

While there is no cure for lupus, Northwestern Medicine specialists help patients find relief from the symptoms using a variety of approaches.

If you have been diagnosed with lupus, your treatment plan will be based on:

  • Your age, overall health and medical history
  • The extent of the condition
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures and therapies
  • The expectation for the course of the disease
  • The specific organs that are affected

If your symptoms are mild, treatment may not be necessary, other than the possible use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) for joint pain. Other treatment may include:

  • Hydroxychloroquine, quinacrine, chloroquine or a combination of these medications
  • Corticosteroids to control inflammation
  • Immunosuppressive medication to suppress the body's overactive autoimmune system
  • Monoclonal antibodies for selected patients, depending on disease activity and the results of certain blood tests
  • The liberal use of sunscreen, decreased time outdoors between 10 am and 4 pm, and wearing hats and long sleeves when outdoors (about one-third of persons with lupus have the tendency to develop a rash in the sun.)
  • Rest, including at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night, and naps and breaks during the day
  • Stress reduction
  • Well-balanced diet
  • Immediate treatment of infections