If there is possible lung or heart damage, your doctor will suggest the following tests:
- Chest X-ray
In some cases, a small sample of kidney tissue is obtained to help determine the best treatment for lupus affecting the kidneys. A skin biopsy may also be performed to confirm if lupus is affecting the skin.
There are different methods of treatment for lupus depending on your signs and symptoms. Lupus flares and symptoms may come on suddenly and severely and then subside over the course of your medication. Your doctor will have to keep up with these changes and adjust medications and dosage.
The most common medication used to control lupus include:
- Antimalarial drugs. Medications for malaria often help in decreasing lupus flares. Side effects may include upset stomach or in rare cases, damage to the retina of the eye.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These may treat swelling, pain, and fever caused by lupus.
- Immunosuppressants. In serious cases, medication that suppresses the immune system is prescribed. Side effects may include decreased fertility, infection, liver damage, and increased risk of cancer.
- Biologics. This helps reduce symptoms. Side effects may include diarrhea, infections, and nausea. Worsening of depression may also occur.
- Corticosteroids. This medication helps counter the inflammation of lupus.