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Lupus. 2010 Oct;19(12):1425-9. doi: 10.1177/0961203310379872.

Alternative therapies: what role do they have in the management of lupus?

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  • 1Division of Allergy-Immunology-Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease with higher morbidity and mortality among ethnic Chinese patients than Whites. Corticosteroid and other immunosuppressive drugs, including cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, and hydroxychloroquine are traditional therapies for this disease. Since the year 2000, mycophenolate mofetil and rituximab have been widely used in refractory SLE or severe lupus nephritis. Because the high disease activity remains, even after active therapy, and serious side effects from Western medicines may develop, more than 40% of SLE patients in Western countries are pursuing complementary and alternative therapies (CATs). CAT remedies are multiplex, and include herbal medicines, diets and vitamins, acupuncture, chiropractice, folk medicine, massage, spiritual healing, etc. Many herbal formulas have been used but in general their efficacy in treating lupus is doubted because of the lack of strong evidence. Tripterygium (T2) has demonstrated good efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and SLE, but widespread use is limited due to the side effects. Through randomized clinical trials, we hope in the future that some Chinese medicines may be found helpful as CATs for SLE.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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