What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune illness, meaning your immune system attacks your healthy cells and tissues. Lupus can affect many different parts of the body, including joints, skin, kidneys, the heart, and lungs.
Lupus is more common in Asian, Black, and Latina women. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common and serious type of lupus.
UR Medicine's Treatments for Lupus
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because it can look different in different people. Our experienced health care team provides education, support, and the latest medicines—some of them delivered in our state-of-the-art infusion center. We also help you coordinate the appointments you need for lab work, X-rays, and other tests.
One of our expert rheumatologists will make a diagnosis based on exam findings, blood tests, and—in some cases—more specialized testing. Your doctor will discuss medications, depending on your symptoms.
There is no cure for lupus. The goal of treatment is to control the inflammation (swelling) to make you more comfortable and to prevent flares, or sudden worsening of symptoms.
- Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs are medicines that reduce pain and inflammation. There are many different NSAIDs. Some NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are available over the counter. Others require a prescription.
- Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids work quickly to reduce inflammation and control “flares,” or sudden worsening of inflammation. Prednisone is one of the commonly used corticosteroids.
- Antimalarials: Most people with lupus take antimalarial medications, which help treat arthritis, fatigue, and rashes. They also help prevent flares. Hydroxychloroquine is a commonly used antimalarial.
- Immunosuppressants: These medications help control lupus symptoms by making the immune system less active so it stops attacking your body. Examples include azathioprine and mycophenolate.
- Biologics: These medications block proteins in the immune system that cause inflammation and other lupus symptoms. Benlimumab is one example.
- Healthy Eating: The right combination of different foods can help you feel your best and maintain a healthy weight. Foods rich in omega-3s and antioxidants may help control inflammation. UR Medicine nutritionists can help you develop a diet plan that works best for you. Learn how UR Medicine's Improve Nutrition Program can help.
- Staying Active: Physical activity will improve your energy level, decrease stiffness, increase range of movement, elevate mood, and increase bone strength. People with lupus can safely exercise with the proper program, and we have informational materials to get you started. UR Medicine physical therapists can also work with you to devise an exercise regimen that’s best for you. Learn more about UR Medicine Physical Therapy.
- Managing Stress: Stress can cause lupus flares. There’s no quick-fix cure for stress, but there are many ways you can reduce stress in your life and improve your overall happiness. We have informational materials to get you started, and UR Medicine Mental Health and Wellness providers can work with you to develop an individual stress management plan. Learn more about the Patient and Family Resources at UR Medicine Mental Health and Wellness.
What Sets Us Apart?
At UR Medicine, our team is committed to providing care that’s centered around you and your needs, reducing your symptoms, and keeping you healthy.
Onsite Infusion Center
Some people with lupus and other autoimmune diseases need medications that can‘t be taken at home. Two of our rheumatology clinics (Lattimore Road in Rochester and Red Creek Drive in Henrietta) have an Infusion Center where patients can receive these medications in comfort and with privacy. Nurses in the Infusion Center will also provide patients with support and education.
For some lupus patients and their families, it may be harder to find the care and caregivers to manage this illness effectively. Our IQ-LUPUS Program, the only one of its kind in the Rochester region, helps you navigate and overcome some of the everyday barriers you might face. Identified patients will be contacted by one of our social workers, who will:
- Help you find the care you need
- Bring together and share information with your care providers
- Help you understand the medicines you take and any unplanned side effects they might cause
- Provide educational programs that meet your needs
Lupus Education Day
Lupus Education Day is a free annual event for people with lupus and their families. Topics discussed include managing lupus, new trends in treatment, and the unique challenges of living with lupus.
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Patient Education & Support
We have put together the printable handouts and videos listed below in English and Spanish to help answer many of your questions about lupus and your medications. If you have concerns about RA or your treatment, talk to your doctor.
- Acetaminiophen (PDF)
- Azathioprine (PDF)
- Video: Azithiprine (1:21)
- Belimumab IV (PDF)
- Belimumab SQ (PDF)
- Corticosteroids (PDF)
- Video: Cordicosteroids (2:02)
- Cyclophosphamide (PDF)
- Video: Cyclophosphamide (1:49)
- Hydroxychloroquine (PDF)
- Video: Hydroxychloroquine (2:00)
- Mycophenolate (PDF)
- NSAIDS (PDF)
Our researchers are studying ways to improve treatment and quality of life of people with lupus. You may wish to help others by participating in a clinical study while receiving the newest treatment available.Email Us