The goals of treatment are to:
- Reduce symptoms
- Control the autoimmune process
- Maintain the body's ability to fight disease
Which treatments are used depends on the specific disease and your symptoms.
Some patients may need supplements to replace a hormone or vitamin that the body is lacking. Examples include thyroid supplements, vitamins such as B12, or insulin injections.
If the autoimmune disorder affects the blood, you may need blood transfusions.
People with autoimmune disorders that affect the bones, joints, or muscles may need help with movement or other functions.
Medicines are often prescribed to control or reduce the immune system's response. They are often called immunosuppressive medicines. Such medicines may include corticosteroids (such as prednisone) and nonsteroid drugs such as azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate, sirolimus, or tacrolimus.
The outcome depends on the disease. Most autoimmune diseases are
Symptoms of autoimmune disorders can come and go. When symptoms get worse, it is called a flare-up.
Complications depend on the disease. Side effects of medications used to suppress the immune system can be severe, such as infections that can be hard to control.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of an autoimmune disorder.
Review Date: 05/29/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.