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Altern Med Rev. 2001 Oct;6(5):460-71.

Natural medicine and nutritional therapy as an alternative treatment in systemic lupus erythematosus.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multisystem autoimmune disorder without a known cure. Conventional medicine typically approaches the disease with a treatment plan that includes the use of corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antimalarial drugs, and chemotherapeutic agents. The results vary and safety is questionable. Conservative treatment methods, such as the use of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, have been shown to have an impact on the activity of the disease. Alternative medicine treatments, including the use of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and Chinese medicines, such as Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF), have gained a growing interest recently and may prove to be viable treatment options in the future. The elimination of possible associated factors, such as food allergens and SLE-symptom eliciting foods like alfalfa seeds, have also been shown to affect disease activity. Conservative alternative medicine approaches have been shown to provide some benefit in SLE studies; however, the evidence is limited, and the overall effectiveness and long-term safety have not been established. More research must be conducted in this area to further establish firm treatment protocols which provide maximum therapeutic benefit and minimum treatment-related side effects.

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