Lupus is a serious autoimmune disease, which means your immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. Lupus is also one of the most common autoimmune diseases.
Lupus affects each person differently, with symptoms that are sometimes hard to detect and differ from patient to patient. This makes the disease hard to diagnose and arriving at effective treatments very challenging. It’s even been called “the disease with 1,000 faces.” But many more faces and minds work with the Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) to improve treatment and, ultimately, cure lupus.
The most common symptoms of lupus are extreme fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, and unexplained fevers. Up to 90% of people with lupus will have arthritis, which is defined as inflammation or swelling of the joint lining. The most common symptoms of arthritis are stiffness and aching, most often in the hands and wrists. Symptoms of arthritis can come and go and move from one joint to another.
Today, doctors have more choices to help patients manage lupus effectively because the range and effectiveness of treatments have increased in recent decades. Current treatments and medications include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are used to treat joint or chest pain, fever, and swelling
- Hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial that can treat fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and lung inflammation
- Corticosteroids, which rapidly reduce inflammation
- Immunosuppressive therapy, which is sometimes prescribed to restrain the overactive immune system by blocking production of immune cells.
- Belimumab (Benlysta®), a B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) protein inhibitor, which may reduce the number of abnormal B cells thought to be a problem in lupus
- Voclosporin (LUPKYNIS), the only FDA-approved oral medication specifically for lupus nephritis
- Anifrolumab-fnia (Saphnelo™), a first-in-class type I interferon receptor antagonist for systemic lupus erythematosus
The LRA helped support some of the early research on some of these therapies and many promising drugs in development. Today, the LRA is funding work that will usher in truly personalized medicine where each treatment is unique. Visit LupusResearch.org to learn more.