Treating and Preventing Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

When dealing with discoid lupus erythematosus or DLE, the primary concerns is to control existing lesions and minimize scarring, and to keep the development of further lesions at bay. Through various treatment approaches and preventive measures, the appearance of the individual suffering from DLE may be considerably improved.

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Treatment Approaches

It can be very helpful for someone afflicted with DLE to consult certain doctors who are well-versed with the chronic dermatological problem. Some of these specialists may include:

  • Rheumatologists – Doctors specializing in the treatment of arthritis and other diseases affecting the joints.
  • Endocrinologists – Doctors who treat problems concerning the glands and hormones they produce.
  • Dermatologists – Doctors focusing on various skin conditions.
  • Nephrologists – Doctors who are knowledgeable with kidney diseases.
  • Cardiologists – Doctors who are experts in problems concerning the heart and blood vessels.
  • Hematologists – Doctors specializing in diagnosing and treating disorders of the blood.
  • Immunologists – Doctors who specialize in the treatment of various problems concerning the immune system.
  • Internists – Doctors focusing on diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases concerning adults.
  • Ophthalmologists – Doctors specializing in the functions, anatomy and diseases of the eyes.

There are different medications commonly used in treating discoid lupus erythematosus. They include:

  • Antimalarial drugs. These drugs are known to help in limiting or suppressing the activity of the afflicted individual’s immune system. The primary antimalarial drug of choice is hydroxychloroquine, followed by chloroquine. Another drug called quinacrine may be used in combination with either hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.
  • Leprostatic drugs. Capable of suppressing the immune system of a person afflicted with DLE, leprostatic drugs such as dapsone can be effective in inhibiting bacterial growth and inflammation.
  • Drugs containing gold salts. Gold compounds in drugs such as auranofin is used for the treatment of discoid lupus erythematosus as it helps in dealing with inflammation.
  • Immune-modulating drugs. There are several drugs that are recommended for treating discoid lupus erythematosus as they help in modulating the immune system. Some commonly prescribed immune-modulating drugs include methotrexate, thalidomide, azathioprine and mycophenolate.
  • Known to help in the suppression of the immune system at varying levels, the administration of corticosteroids such as triamcinolone may be very helpful for someone with DLE.
  • Retinoids help in modulating the immune system as well as regulating the cells’ proliferation. Some retinoids prescribed for discoid lupus erythematosus include acitretin and isotretinoin.

DLE Preventive Measures

In order to prevent discoid lupus erythematosus, various triggering factors have to be avoided. There are also certain foods or nutrients that the individual with DLE should include in the daily diet. The following are some effective preventive measures to keep discoid lupus erythematosus attacks to a minimum:

  • Because exposure to the sun is one of the triggers of DLE, it’s important for anyone suffering from the condition to limit sun exposure. The use of protective clothing, headgears and sunscreens with high SPF rating are highly recommended.
  • Hiding existing lesions as well as scars with cosmetic products help in making the sufferer regain self-confidence. However, it’s very important for the person to use products that are free of ingredients that can induce or worsen skin lesions.
  • Smoking should be ditched. Experts say that smoking makes the immune system more active, thus making the condition worse. A person with DLE who is a non-smoker should also avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Having regular exercise is good during remissions. This helps in regaining or maintaining muscle strength as well as in increasing the flexibility of the joints.
  • Diet rich in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables may help in dealing with the inflammation. It’s also a good idea to consume sufficient amounts of fatty fish, flaxseed and nuts as they contain omega-3 fatty acids known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
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