The medication used to treat lupus-related skin conditions depends on what kind of cutaneous lupus you have. The most common treatments are ointments, such as steroid cream or gel. In some cases liquid steroids will be injected directly into the lesions.
A new class of drugs, called topical immuno-modulators, has been developed to treat serious skin conditions without the side effects found in corticosteroids: both tacrolimus ointment (Protopic®) and pimecrolimus cream (Elidel®) have been shown to suppress the activity of the immune system in the skin, including the butterfly rash, subacute cutaneous lupus, and possibly even discoid lupus lesions.
In addition, thalidomide (Thalomid®) has been increasingly accepted as a treatment for the types of lupus that affect the skin; it has been shown to greatly improve cutaneous lupus that has not responded to other treatments.
Treatments for Cutaneous Lupus
● Preventative Treatments
Avoidance/protection from sunlight and artificial ultraviolet light
Sunscreens — physical and chemical
● Local/Topical Treatments
Corticosteroid creams, ointments, gels, solutions, lotions, sprays, foams
tacrolimus ointment (Protopic®)
pimecrolimus cream (Elidel®)
● Systemic Treatments for Mild to Moderate Disease
Corticosteroids – short term
quinacrine (available from compounding pharmacies only)
Retinoids: synthetic forms of vitamin A—isotretinoin (Accutane®), acitretin (Soriatane®)
Sulfones: diaminodiphenylsulfone (Dapsone®)
● Systemic Treatments for Severe Disease
Corticosteroids – long term
intramuscular— sodium thiomaleate (Myochrisine®)
Mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept®)
● Biologics: efalizumab (Raptiva®)
It should be noted that most of the above treatments are not FDA-approved for cutaneous lupus.
Above Information Sourced From: Lupus Foundation of America
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