Skip to content

Lupus Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Other Treatment

While some people with lupus try alternative or complementary therapies (such as special diets, fish oils, or chiropractic treatment), these are not proven treatments for lupus.

Some therapies that focus on relaxation can help you cope with having a long-lasting (chronic) disease and may significantly improve your quality of life. These relaxation therapies include yoga, guided imagery, and massage.

Recommended Related to Lupus

Frequently Asked Questions About Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The immune system's job is to fight foreign substances in the body, such as germs and viruses. But in autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks healthy tissues, not germs. Lupus is a disease that can affect many parts of the body. Lupus can involve the joints, the skin, the kidneys, the lungs, the heart, and/or the brain. If you have lupus, it may affect several parts of your body. Usually, one person doesn't have all the possible symptoms.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions About Lupus article > >

Experimental therapies for lupus

Medicines and therapies now being studied are meant to change how the immune system works so that they can keep the disease from progressing. These newer treatments include stem cell transplantation and biologic treatment.

Immunoablation with or without stem cell transplantationstem cell transplantation is being studied as a treatment for severe lupus that has not been controlled with all other treatments. Immunoablation uses powerful drugs to wipe out the damaged immune system. After immunoablation, either the bone marrow is allowed to replace itself, or it is partially replaced through a stem cell transplant. The transplant replaces damaged or destroyed bone marrow cells with healthy cells, or stem cells. Stem cells are immature cells that are produced in the bone marrow. They can divide to produce more stem cells. Or they can mature into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. More study of these treatments for lupus is needed.

Biologic treatment blocks specific steps in the lupus autoimmune process without suppressing the entire immune system. Researchers are currently experimenting with very specific substances, such as antibodies and nucleotides, that block certain steps of the autoimmune process. Rituximab is an antibody directed against certain immune cells that may have a role in lupus. It is approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Studies are looking at the use of rituximab for lupus. It is beginning to be used for lupus flares that have not responded to other immunosuppressive therapies. In some cases, rituximab has been associated with serious side effects such as breathing difficulty, heart problems, or severe infection. So the use of rituximab is closely watched.

DHEA (also called prasterone in the United States) is an androgenic dietary supplement that is derived from the wild yam. Experts suggest only using pharmaceutical-grade (versus "natural") DHEA. Results of research are mixed. But most studies show the drug has no more impact on the lupus itself than a placebo.2 The most common side effects of DHEA are acne and facial hair growth in women and hair loss in men. Because this supplement is a hormonal substance, talk to your doctor before using it. And have your DHEA blood levels checked every 6 months. Long-term effects are not known.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: /2, 14 1
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

grocery shopping list
And the memory problems that may come with it.
Lupus rash on nails
A detailed, visual guide.
sunburst filtering through leaves
You might be extra sensitive to UV light. Read on.
fruit drinks
For better focus in your life.
Woman rubbing shoulder
Bag of cosmetics
young woman hiding face
pregnant woman
5 Lupus Risk Factors
Young adult couple
doctor advising patient
sticky notes on face

WebMD Special Sections