Treatment for Mild SLE
Creams and Sunblocks
Creams. Steroid creams are often used for skin lesions. However, many patients with cutaneous lupus do not respond to steroids, particularly if they have eruptions that are caused by sun sensitivity. A cream derived from vitamin A (Tegison) may help some lesions that do not clear up with steroid creams.
Sun Protection. Sun protection is essential. Patients should always use sunblock creams (not just sunscreens) and always wear hats and clothing made of tightly woven fabrics.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Common NSAIDs. NSAIDs block prostaglandins, the substances that dilate blood vessels and cause inflammation and pain. They can help relieve joint pain and swelling, and muscle pain. There are dozens of NSAIDs.
- Over-the-counter NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, generic), naproxen (Aleve, generic), ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis KT, generic).
- Prescription NSAIDs include prescription forms of ibuprofen naproxen and ketoprofen, diclofenac (Voltaren, generic), and tolmetin (Tolectin, generic).
Side Effects. Regular, long-term use of NSAIDs can cause ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding, which can lead to anemia. To avoid these problems, it’s best to take NSAIDs with food or immediately after a meal. Long-term use of NSAIDs (with the exception of aspirin) can also increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Other NSAID side effects may include:
- Upset stomach
- Dyspepsia (burning, bloated feeling in pit of stomach)
- Skin bruising
- High blood pressure
- Fluid retention
- Reduced kidney function
Patients who have kidney problems associated with lupus (lupus nephritis) should be especially cautious about using NSAIDs. Patients with lupus who take NSAIDs on a regular basis should have their liver and kidney function tested every 3 - 4 months.
Review Date: 02/18/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.