The treatment and management of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is centered around drugs to minimize disease activity and prevent flare-ups. Because the cause is unknown, its inflammatory mechanisms are the target of medication.
SLE is a chronic, lifelong disease. Many people with SLE lead relatively normal lives. Some are moderately debilitated and a few are very ill. Early attention to your lifestyle can help minimize the effects of SLE.
The most dangerous complication of SLE is lupus nephritis, which can destroy your kidney function and require
to keep you alive. Current medications help prevent this complication.
Treatment involves the following:
Surgery is not a standard treatment option for SLE. However, if you have lupus nephritis and it leads to kidney failure, you may need to have a kidney transplant.
American College of Rheumatology website. Available at:
Lupus Foundation of America website. Available at:
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at:
Last reviewed May 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
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