Lupus got its name from the Latin word for wolves, Canis Lupus. Lupus manifests it facial rashes, like facial markings of a wolf.


MOST IMPORTANT: Finding the Right Doctor

You do not necessarily have to find a specialist to diagnose your lupus. A family practitioner, internist, or general practitioner can also diagnose the disease. However, when it comes to dealing with the variety of symptoms and side effects of lupus, you may end up visiting with a variety of physicians known as your treatment team.

For the most part you will end up seeing at least one of two specialists besides your current family doctor. If you have cutaneous lupus you will probably see a dermatologist to definitively diagnose your condition. A dermatologist is a doctor that specializes in skin disorders. However, you could also end up seeing an urologist, neurologist, cardiac specialist, and an orthopedic surgeon depending on your symptoms.

Yet when it comes to SLE, you will most likely be visiting with a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is a doctor that specializes in treating arthritis, and other conditions of the joints, muscles, and bones. While these two medical specialties are focuses on symptoms that fit with your type of Lupus, there are some doctors that are more qualified than others, because they actually specialize in treating Lupus patients.

When you suspect that you have lLpus, you will probably start off working with your family doctor. He or she may recommend that you find a specialist, so you should know where you can find a Lupus doctor and how to choose the best doctor for you. Not every person’s disease travels the same path and people relate to doctors differently. Discuss your options with your family doctor to find someone who is well respected in the field but also fits with your payment options and personality. Also, be sure to check credentials and board certification. Do not be afraid to interview your doctors, because you cannot be intimidated about following your treatment.

Here are some resources that can help you find a specialist:

American Board of Medical Specialties:

American Medical Association:

Lupus Foundation of America:

St. Thomas Lupus Trust (UK) :

Preparing for the Consultation
Before you head out to discuss your Lupus with a specialist, you need to do some preparation on your own. Make sure you look up the doctor’s qualifications. There is no sense going to meet with a specialist that doesn’t specialize in treating Lupus. Also, talk to your insurance provider to if your visit is covered or what percentage will be covered.

Your medical history is also important prior to going in for your consultation. Start off by going through all of your prior doctor visits and write down any diagnoses and symptoms you have experienced. Write down a list of your medications. You should also write down some of your current symptoms like where you experience pain, how often, and how severe. Are there any triggers? What time of day is worse? Also, if you have any copies of your medical records, bring those with you. Finally, write down your family’s medical history, too.

You also need to write down some questions to ask your doctor. Why should you write them down? Sometimes the doctors will be giving you a lot of information, and you can often forget to ask something. If you take some time to write down your questions you will be less likely to forget something. Also, if you leave space, you can take notes so you don’t forget what the doctor is telling you.

Some of the questions you should ask when you are interviewing a potential specialist include:

How will you communicate with my other physicians?
Do you treat other patients with lupus?
What are your results in your other lupus patients?
Where will my tests be conducted?
How will your nurses be used in my care?
Have you ever worked with any of my other doctors?

When you finish “interviewing” the specialist, you should ask yourself the following questions to determine if this doctor is the right fit:

Did the doctor and the staff treat me with respect?
Was I given all the time I needed to ask questions and get answers?
Did the doctor appear knowledgeable about lupus?
Did the doctor and I communicate well?

Thank you Freedon from Lupus
Chosing the right Doctor is like chosing the right marriage partner…
When you talk to this Physican, ask them about the number one Super FOOD in the World the Acai Berry.
If they don’t tell you about all the great advantages to taking this fruit…then they are the wrong doctor! Medications are wrong for a Lupus patient…as drugs induce worse actions/reactions with your body.
If I can help you in any way…contact me…I will assist you in any way that I am able. I am NOT a Doctor, but I am a Lupus Survivor and I want you to be too!

Smiles and world peace,
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Lupus Triggers

1582532894_40578ad512_m.jpg Wear PURPLE for LUPUS awareness…


Hormones are chemical substances secreted by the cells of the endocrine system that regulate bodily functions. Males have sex hormones known as androgens and women’s sex hormones include estrogens and progestins.

Most experts agree that the hormone estrogen has an impact on lupus, however there is not the be~al~end~all explanation for lupus flares. It is known that increased levels of estrogen can cause lupus flares, but it does not always do so for every patient. In fact, in pregnant lupus patients – when estrogen increases 100 fold beyond menstrual estrogen levels, flares are actually uncommon. Still, during menopause estrogen levels fall to immeasurable levels, and lupus activity becomes milder.

Many women with lupus have low levels of progesterone and androgen, which can then compound the effect estrogen has on immune system cells. Also, prolactin levels are often seen in men with SLE and also in some women. Prolactin, the hormone that triggers the production of breast milk, can stimulate the immune system, and increased levels of prolactin are found in about 20 percent of people with lupus5.

The University of Missouri School of Biological Sciences recently completed some studies regarding the effect of estrogen in the immune cells of patients with lupus. They found that estrogen binds to the receptor on the immune cell, activating a signal that increases autoimmune cell activity. It is this activity that increases the production of more autoantibodies that can cause damage to organs and other tissues.

1751262149_485b2a3fa8_m.jpg Done by Artist for Lupus Contestant…

While estrogen is highly linked to lupus flares, it should be noted that men do get lupus, too. Androgens and progestins are often higher in men, and they act as immune system suppressants. Therefore, it is theorized that men who have lupus also have an imbalance of the estrogen~to~androgen ratio. However, more study is needed to determine the hormonal relationship in men with lupus.

There is some concern that taking HRT during menopause can cause memory loss. However, estrogen impacts the activity and connectivity of certain neurons in the brain. The hormone can effect behavior and mood. A recent study by Columbia University demonstrated that some women who take estrogen during post-menopause my experience a delay in Alzheimer’s disease onset or decrease their risk of developing the disease.
Thank you Freedom From Lupus
I am a Lupus survivior…the only thing that has EVER helped me witht his disease is Mona Vie. You may contact me if you would like further infornmation about what it is and how it has helped me. I will hold your information private.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~


What is Lupus?

It’s been said that understanding Lupus means understanding medicine. Lupus, also known by its formal name “Lupus Erythematosus,” is caused by factors that reflect the core of immune system functioning. Still, Lupus is actually difficult to diagnose. While over one million people suffer from Lupus in the US alone, it is a little publicized disease – despite the fact that it has more sufferers than leukemia, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy combined.

Systemic Lupus

The simplest way to explain lupus is that the body becomes allergic to itself. The immune system overreacts to stimuli, resulting in too many antibodies being produced. This autoimmune disease then causes the high number of antibodies to attack normal tissue. While there are several different types of Lupus…including Systemic, Discoid, Neonatal, and Drug-Induced Lupus. Systemic Lupus is the most common form.

Systemic Lupus (SLE) is diagnosed by using specific criteria determined by the American College of Rheumatology. Despite the fact that he criteria are outlined, it can actually take along time to diagnose. While some tests help in the diagnosis, there is no one definitive test for SLE.

SLE symptoms can appear on the skin, as can be seen by the first four criteria. It can also cause major damage to the internal organs, as noted in the systemic criteria. Finally, the diagnosis is usually confirmed via at least one of the laboratory criteria, most often through the antinuclear antibody test, or ANA. While the ANA test tells a physician that there is a potential autoimmune disease, it does not give a definitive Lupus diagnosis alone. While 4 out of the 11 criteria are usually required for a lupus diagnosis, there are rare occasions when a diagnosis can be made with less.
Thank you Freedom from Lupus
Hello Baby Boomers

Though I am not a Doctor…I am a survivor if Lupus or should that read with Lupus…

If there is anything that I can help you with…PLEASE contact me…on or off line.

Though out my blog there are all kinds of reports on Lupus…just do a search.

What has helped me the most and a HUGE world of difference to me and my health is Mona Vie…I attack Lupus thru a NON-PHARMACUETICAL approach…since I am one of the Drug Induced Lupus Survivors.

Lupus And Women


Lupus is often characterized as a woman’s disease. The reason it is lumped in this category is that over 75 percent people with autoimmune diseases are women and 9 out of 10 people with Lupus are women. Since the hormone estrogen is thought to play a role in Lupus, it is logical that more women are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45. It is also why, in lupus patients who are diagnosed as children or in elderly years we see the diagnoses of Lupus even out more between men and women.

We also know that stress on the body may be a trigger for Lupus. One of the greatest stresses on a woman’s body is pregnancy. There is a myth that women with lupus should not have a baby, and it is simply not true for most women with the disease. A pregnancy just requires more observation by a physician. The disease itself does not cause miscarriages. There are some cases, though, of women with no lupus systems prior to pregnancy developing active Lupus after the baby is born.

During menopause, though, many women experience relief from symptoms. Again, hormones may play a role in the relief. Many post-menopausal women say that it is the best time in the course of the disease. While they may not be free from Lupus flares, there seems to be a reduction in painful symptoms.

Lupus and Pregnancy

It used to be that doctors told women with Lupus to avoid having children, and some doctors today still use that outdated information to warn women to avoid getting pregnant. However, recent studies along with improved treatments now demonstrate that most Lupus patients can safely have healthy children. There are some circumstances when pregnancy can bring about serious health risks, but they are not as prevalent as doctors once believed.

Women with Lupus are just as able to get pregnant as women without Lupus except when there is certain disease activity, the woman is on dialysis, or if she is taking specific medication. For instance, it is not unusual for Lupus patients to have irregular periods, which can make planning a pregnancy difficult.

Also, 30 percent of patients have kidney disease and between 10 to 20 percent of those patients require dialysis. With dialysis there is an interruption in regular menstrual cycles and also increase in health risks for the mother and baby. Drugs that interfere with ovulation include cyclophosphamide, which can cause premature menopause.

There are some circumstances in which treatments in males can affect fertility. For instance, sperm counts in men undergoing chemotherapy are decreased, which can make getting pregnant difficult for a couple. Some men store their sperm prior to chemotherapy treatment and opt for in-vitro fertilization.

In most cases, pregnancy risk is based on the status of the woman’s Lupus. Women who are low risk usually have a mild form of the disease or are in remission. They are not taking any medication and lack the RoSSA and the anticardiolipin antibody. Also, women who have DLE or DILE are at low risk.

Risk of miscarriage or maternal organ failure usually increases with a variety of circumstances, as 3 percent of high-risk patients do die. A woman is considered high risk if she has active lupus myocarditis, active Lupus nephritis with an increased serum creatinine, or has severe or uncontrollable high blood pressure. Also, if chemotherapy is needed during pregnancy the treatment can cause fetal anomalies, malformation, or maternal infection.

Many women who are in the high-risk category still want to try for a baby. Approximately 20 percent of those women go through their pregnancy with little difficulty. Another 20 percent have serious complications, while the remaining miscarry. However, if a woman has organ threatening Lupus, the risks are often too high and adoption is usually recommended.

Since risk during pregnancy is based upon lupus activity in the body, it seems to make sense that pregnancy should coincide with a period of good disease control. Therefore, it is important that a woman with lupus get a pre-pregnancy assessment so she can have a clear idea of the risks, if there are any. It also allows the physicians to have a baseline comparison of symptoms and health, so they can quickly identify a flare during pregnancy.

During the assessment the physician will be looking at the anti-Ro and anti-La antibodies. The reason for this assessment is the anti-Ro antibody has been known to cause some heart rhythm disturbances in some babies born to mothers who carry the antibody. It may also cause neonatal Lupus, though the disorder is relatively rare.

The assessment will also take a look at what medications are absolutely necessary during the pregnancy for lupus management. Some women may wish to stop taking all her medications, but stopping all medication can actually pose a greater risk to the mother and the baby.

Each patient’s treatment differs, so it is important to work with the physician regarding which medications are safe. For instance, it is widely accepted that NSAIDs are safe for pregnant mothers up until the end of the second trimester, at which point they become harmful to the fetus. Also, some doctors feel that immunosuppressives are not safe during pregnancy.

Two drugs that should be avoided during this time are methotrexate, which causes miscarriage and fetal defects, and cyclophosphamide, which may cause birth defects.

This is why it is not a good idea to get pregnant during a flare. The body is under a great deal of stress at that time, and it increases risk. Also, medication is imperative to keeping the Lupus under control. Most doctors recommend waiting at least 6 to 7 months after a flare so that the body can recover and stabilize prior to becoming pregnant.

Many women are concerned about flares during pregnancy, and they can occur. Most often flares will occur during the first trimester and within three months after giving birth. This is due mainly to hormonal fluctuations during these times. However, most flares are mild and can be treated easily with low doses of corticosteroids.
Thank you Freedom From Lupus!
***********************************************II am a Lupus survivor…let me know if I can answer any questions for you. I have had this disease all my life. Yet was not diagnoised with it until 1995.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~


Who is Working on a Lupus Cure?

Right now there is no cure for lupus, there are only treatments for lupus symptoms. Yet there are hundreds of research studies going on around the world to develop better treatments along with seeking out a cure and a cause for lupus. Many organizations are supporting lupus studies from The Lupus Foundation, Alliance for Lupus Research, the Canadian Network for Improving Outcomes in SLE, and the Systemic Lupus Erythematosis International Collaborating Clinics to the International Union of Immunology Specialists and World Health Organization Serology Subcommunity.

Lupus research takes on many forms and each study has different goals. Some of the research if focused on genetics, ranging from ways to identify how the disease will appear in the body to identifying the offending genes to develop a cure. Other researchers are focusing on developing better treatments such as finding better anti-inflammatory medications, blood clotting drugs, hormone treatments, and more. The hope is that the side effects in current medications will be decreased while they will also be more focused in attacking symptoms.

There is also a significant amount of research going on outside of lupus-specific research that could have direct impacts on treating lupus. For instance, researchers are working on preventing the risk factors for heart disease and curing cancer. Major improvements in treating kidney disease have arisen out of research, impacting patients that suffer from SLE nephritis. For instance, research is currently being done to determine more effective use of azathioprine and cyclophosphamide as well as the development of a new drug, mycophenolate mofetil, in treating kidney disease.

Research is also being conducted on the criteria used to diagnose lupus. While the ACR criteria have been used for years, they are currently up for review. Many lupus experts are pushing for an expansion of the criteria that will include other symptoms that will help improve the 90 percent accuracy of the current model and also open up opportunities to study more patients in the pursuit of better treatments and a cure.

Overall, the research seems promising. We have no idea what will come in the next 15 to 20 years, but at this rate it looks like we will see major improvements in the awareness and treatment of lupus, resulting in a better quality of life for those coping with the disease.

There are many promising twin and gene studies that are helping to identify a map of gene changes in patients with lupus. With the improvement in technology, scientists are now able to study over 10,000 genes per day to develop this genetic map, which may allow medical experts to determine how each patient will be affected by SLE.

The discovery of how patients will be affected by their lupus will allow physicians to provide each patient with treatment that is specific to their disease, and that treatment may one day include gene therapy. It can also help medical experts make an early diagnosis, which may prevent the months or years of test and failing treatments that frustrate both doctors and patients. It may also allow for early identification of life-threatening symptoms, that with early treatment may be controlled or cured.

Geneticists are hoping to identify exactly which genes control the immune system abnormalities present in lupus patients. If they are able to isolate those genes, they may be able to develop a method for replacing or changing the activity in those genes to cure SLE.

Blood Tests

In 2002 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared a market for a new lupus screening test. The test was developed by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and it was considered the first major scientific breakthrough for lupus patients in over 40 years.

That test is known as the anti-SR test, and it helps to identify the 20 percent of patients that previously fell through the cracks, because they could not be identified by the ANA test. The test can also make it easier for doctors to determine who and when patients will flare from lupus. Interestingly, the test arose by chance from a scientific experiment that began when the researchers injected mice with extracts from frog nuclei. The antibodies that the mice developed led to the discovery of the SR proteins used in this new test.

Still, research is not stopping on blood tests for lupus. Research is continuing to find better tests for lupus. The goal is to find a definitive test for lupus rather than a variety of tests that may point to the disease.

Tests are also being developed to determine risk of certain symptoms. For instance, tests are being developed to determine which lupus patients are at a higher risk of blood clots. By identifying patients with a higher risk, preventative treatment can keep people from suffering greater lupus complications.
Thank you Freedom from Lupus.
I hope that those of you who have Lupus or loved ones of a Lupus survivor, have read something here to help you.

As those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, know…I do not believe in pharmaceuticals. Especially since Lupus can be drug induced.

But, I do try to give you options. Not everyone wants nor should take the direction that I have chosen for my self. I do hope that you will look into homeopathic medicine, though.

Better heatlth, smiles and world peace,
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Why Exercise is Essential


Exercise is an important component of treating Lupus. Many people with diseases that affect the joints, like Lupus, sometimes operate under the assumption that they should not exercise because they may increase inflammation. However, that assumption is purely false. Exercise is an essential part of treating the disease.

Exercise is helpful in counteracting many of the effects Lupus has on the body. Exercise improves mood and reduces stress. It can help patients maintain a healthy weight preventing added stress on bodily functioning and diseases like diabetes. It keeps the heart healthy and prevents the development of muscle atrophy, joint stiffness, and osteoporosis. Exercise also increases pain tolerance and prevents arthritic symptoms.

While not all types of exercise are appropriate for every person, there are so many ways a person can exercise, that every person should be able to find a healthy exercise routine. Whether you are young or old coping with lupus can be made easier with some appropriate exercise every day.

Creating an Exercise Plan

The hardest part of developing an exercise plan is actually getting started. Many people have the intention of exercising, but never really do it. However, every patient is different, so before you start exercising you should discuss your options with your physician. A physician will be able to evaluate your overall condition and fitness level so you can choose the appropriate level of activity and type of exercise for you.

In order to remain motivated in your exercise plan, you should find someone to be an exercise buddy. It can be more fun and hold you accountable. Also it is helpful to have some variety in your exercise program so you do not get bored with exercising. For instance you can walk one day and do water aerobics the next. You may also want to decide on higher impact activities for days you are feeling well and lower impact activities for days you are not feeling well.


When you decide on your activities you should have realistic goals. If you have never exercised before, you should not plan on running a marathon next week. Have both long and short-term goals so that you do not get discouraged. It is also helpful to keep a log chart of your exercise activity to remain motivated. Also plan ahead for obstacles that can keep you from exercising and start off slow, building up a routine over time.

One aspect of exercise that many people forget is the stretch and warm-up. For lupus patients that often experience muscle and joint pain, the warm up is very important. Warming up and stretching prevents damage from occurring to the joints and muscles. You should also cool the joints down after exercise by doing some stretching. It will prevent stiffness later. Some people often use cold packs after exercising and heating packs before and after to heat sore joints.

The types of exercise you choose are highly personal. Every patient has different capabilities and interests. The most commonly chosen forms of exercise by Lupus patients are aerobic exercise, hydrotherapy, and weight training. Many patients utilize a combination of all three to target different areas and maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise stimulates the cardiorespiratory system. This type of exercise uses the large muscles in the body in a repetitive manner to improve the functioning of the heart, lungs, and muscles. It is exercise that improves weight, mood, sleep patterns, and overall health.

Most people associate aerobic exercise with activities like walking, aerobics, bicycling, stairclimbing, running, and more. When people are asked to picture aerobic exercise it is often portrayed as a group activity in the gym, on a stair machine, or running on the side of the road. Many of those types of aerobic activity are known as high impact aerobics, and may cause some joint irritation.


However, there are other types of aerobic exercise that are not quite as intense known as low-impact aerobics. They involved walking and cycling, and they are known to decrease fatigue. Even some daily activities are low-impact like mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or walking the dog.

Doctors currently recommend that people get about 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity 3 to 5 days per week. For many people with lupus this may seem an incredible hurdle, but the time can be spread out during the day or week into ten-minute intervals. Spreading the aerobic exercise out throughout the day offers the same health benefits. It also allows for more scheduling flexibility and the ability to work within pain and fatigue tolerances.

When doing aerobic exercise, a patient should keep it at a moderate level. This means that the person should be able to talk normally. By keeping the aerobic activity at a moderate level the exerciser does not get out of breath or overheated, meaning the activity can be sustained for a longer period of time. If you feel pain during your workout, you might want to decrease the intensity.

Any aerobic activity should be taken on gradually. No one should attempt to run a marathon if they have barely gotten off the couch for ten years. Start off slow with walking or riding a bike for a few minutes to build up endurance. Also, be patient with your progress. Before any aerobic session you should prep the muscles with a warm up of stretches, and after you are done you should cool down with more stretches. The warm-up and cool down will prevent cramping and joint stiffness.

Thank you, Freedom from Lupus.

Medical Treatments for Lupus


Let me state right off from the start that I DO NOT believe in Pharmaceuticals…I am posting this piece, so you will see what is available out there, for you…and I want you to pay special attention to what the WARNINGS are.

And even though the STEROIDS that they suggest, are not the same as athletes are taking…the result are worse for Lupus persons…because we are very reactive to any drugs!

I have had steroids…and they make you feel so wonderful…like you can go out dancing all night again [something, I truly miss, horribly]…but do not be disillusioned…they are harmful. I will not allow them in my person again. No matter how low my immune system goes. They are poison.

So…with that said…here you go…I will always print the other side so you can make an intelligent decision. I pray that it will be the right one!

~The Baby Boomer Queen~


Tissue inflammation is the major cause of Lupus symptoms. While the body naturally produces cortisone to decrease inflammation, it may not be solely effective in reducing the inflammation in Lupus patients. Therefore, synthetic steroids are used to decrease the swelling, warmth, tenderness, and pain in lupus patients.

Corticosteroids are a commonly prescribed medication.

Corticosteroids are produced by the outer part of the adrenal gland, and they differ from the anabolic steroids that weightlifters use illegally to increase their strength and size.

The most commonly used corticosteroid is Prednisone, while others used include hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), and dexamethasone (Decadron). They usually relieve symptoms right away. Corticosteroids can be helpful in serious cases of inflammation like pleurisy, pericarditis, or organ threatening disease, but they do have some serious side effects.

While steroids are remarkably effective at decreasing Lupus symptoms, they come with numerous side effects. Common side effects include acne, the development of a moon-shaped face, and increased appetite. The increase in appetite can also cause weight gain.

They can redistribute fat and lead to more fragile skin. The psychological effects of steroids include irritability, agitation, euphoria, and depression. Also, insomnia can set in. There is a higher susceptibility of getting an infection and the possibility of aggravating any diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

However, it should be noted that steroids do not cause cancer.

Long-term use of steroids can result in some serious conditions.

Avascular necrosis of the bone is usually associated with high doses of prednisone taken over a long time period. The disease usually occurs in the hip, and it is very painful. Relief usually comes in the form of a core bone biopsy or joint replacement.

Osteoporosis is another common result of long-term steroid use, but it can usually be prevented with calcium, vitamin D, hormones, calcitonin, biphosphonates, and certain hormones.

Cataracts, and muscle weakness are also caused by long-term use. Plus, there is a relationship between premature arteriosclerosis and long-term steroid use. It is due to these potential side effects that steroids need to be used with great care and under a physician’s watchful eye.


The fourth class of drugs used to treat Lupus are known as Immunosuppressives. As the name implies, Immunosuppressives are used to suppress or inhibit an over-active immune system.

Immunosuppressives are normally used in transplant patients to prevent the body from rejecting the transplanted organ. Immunosuppressives are often used in patients with more serious systemic lupus. Doctors consider using immunosuppressives when major organs like the kidneys are affected, severe muscle inflammation is present, or there is intractable arthritis. Immunosuppressives can also be helpful in decreasing the amount of steroids needed to treat inflammation, saving patients who are susceptible to more severe side effects from added discomfort.

There are several immunosuppressives available in the treatment of Lupus, though five are the most commonly used: azanthioprine (Imuran®), cycolphosphamide (Cytoxan®), methotrexate (Rheumatrex®), cyclosporine (Neoral®), and mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept®). They each work in different ways, but all immunosuppressives function to decrease or prevent an immune response.

Azanthioprine (Imuran):

For Lupus patients, azathioprine is one of the most often prescribed immunosuppressives. It is also an antimetabolite, meaning it blocks metabolic steps in immune cell, thus helping to control the underlying processes in a disease. It also has fewer side effects than other Lupus drugs.

Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan):

Cyclophosphamide is an alkylating agent and a very strong drug. It is usually only used in Lupus patients that have kidney or other organ threatening disease. Cycolphosphamide goes after autoantibody producing cells. This activity suppresses the immune response and decreases disease activity. However, its use can produce severe side effects.

Methotrexate (Rheumatrex):

Methotrexate was first used as a treatment for cancer and then used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is also an antimetabolite and often used for Lupus arthritis. There is some concern about toxicity, so doctors will have to do regular CBC and liver function tests.

Cyclosporine (Neoral):

Cyclosporine is commonly used to threat rheumatic diseases, and it is an antimetabolite.

Mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept):

Mycophenolate mofetil is a strong immunosuppressive and is sometimes used in place of cyclophosphamide in patients that have kidney involvement. It functions by preventing the replication of T and B-lymphocytes.

Some of the side effects associated with immunosuppressives include an increased risk of infection and bone marrow suppression. Also malignancies can develop from their use. Some patients experience alopecia, nausea, vomiting, esophagitis, hematuria, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia. With high doses, pulmonary fibrosis can develop. Side effects like amenorrhea and impotence reverse themselves with the discontinuation of the medication.


DHEA is one of the new hopes in medicinal treatment of lupus symptoms, but it comes with cautious optimism. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a steroid hormone that occurs naturally in all mammals. It is an androgen produced by the adrenal glands, and is used to make other hormones like testosterone and estrogen.

DHEA has not been without its controversy. In 1980 the supplement was banned by the FDA after the FDA declared DHEA was a drug (by declaring it a drug the law required it be tested for safety and efficacy by the FDA). However, Canada and the U.K. have banned over-the-counter sales of DHEA altogether.

Basically DHEA is used in Lupus patients to decrease dosages of steroids, because it helps to relieve pain, inflammation, and fatigue. Much of the documented research has been done by Genelabs with most of the participants reporting that they felt better. While the researchers do not know the mechanism by which DHEA affects Lupus, they do know that women with Lupus have lower DHEA levels. They also know that DHEA increases testosterone and estrogen levels.

The side effects of DHEA have not been fully studied. However there is concern that it may influence certain types of cancers that are directly related to hormones (i.e. breast, ovarian, uterine, and prostate cancer). In men it can increase aggression, but upon decrease of dosage this problem can go away. Also, a too-high dosage of DHEA can cause facial hair growth and a deepening of the voice in women.
Thank you Freedom from Lupus

Though I am not a Doctor or someone who has a degree from Harvard, I do not have to be a rocket scientist to see the warning signs of Pharmaceutical usage.

I am a Lupus survivor and am grateful for every day here in earth.
Pain and depression or not, it beats the alternative!

I chose the non-pharmaceutical life.

Please read my other posts to see how I cope with Lupus.

Smiles, world peace and wellness,
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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