Drug Induced Lupus is
Caused by a Hypersensitivity
to Some Common Drugs.


Syringe and Pills Drug induced lupus is just one type of lupus. When someone asks, "what causes lupus?", the answer is usually hard to come by - not so with this type of the disorder. Lupus is a type of autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own tissues. Autoimmune diseases usually have a trigger, or something that starts the immune system on this collision course.

In the case of drug induced lupus (also known as drug induced lupus erythematosus, DIL, or DILE), this trigger is a particular medication. This response of the immune system is not immediate, however - or, at least the symptoms are not immediate. Often a person is on the offending meds for several months (usually 3 to 6) before the first symptoms appear.

That's the bad news. The good news, however, is that the symptoms of drug induced lupus erythematosus generally disappear days to weeks after the medication is discontinued.

Although drug induced lupus is not one of the types of lupus one hears about often, it accounts for about 10 percent of all lupus cases, according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. So let's get down to the nitty gritty - what are the drugs that may cause problems in susceptible people?

Two of the most commonly cited drugs are hydralazine (trade name Apresoline - used to treat high blood pressure) and Procainamide (trade names Pronestyl, Procan, Procanbid - used to treat heart arrhythmias).

I'll list some other more common prescriptions medications that have been linked to drug induced lupus, but bear in mind that there are 38 (and I've read reports of up to 400) drugs that have been known to trigger this autoimmune reaction!

Here Are Some Other Prescription Medications Known to Cause Drug Induced Lupus in Some People.

  • Drugs used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure (CHF), such as Capoten, and Methyldopa.
  • Antipsychotics such as Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), and Phenytoin (Dilantin).
  • Drugs used to treat autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and others), such as Etanercept, Infliximab, Penicillamine, and Sulfasalazine.
  • Anti-arrhythmic drugs Propafenone and Quinidine.
  • Isoniazid (an anti-tuberculosis drug).
  • Minocycline and Pyrazinamide (antibiotics).

While it ends up not being as severe as systemic lupus erythematosus, the symptoms of DIL are very similar to SLE. Like SLE, the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in various parts of the body. The symptoms include inflammation and lupus joint pain. Extreme fatigue is also one of the more common symptoms.

While the heart and lungs may also be affected, kidney and nervous system involvement are fortunately rare (and, the tell-tale lupus skin rash does not appear to be one of the symptoms of DIL). The other fortunate fact, as I said before, is that the autoimmune response, and thus the symptoms of drug induced lupus, subside shortly after the triggering medication is stopped.

For additional information please refer to my page on types of lupus. Also, my pages on lupus and diet and lupus and exercise may help if you are dealing with the any type of lupus. Check back often, or subscribe to my RSS feed - I update this site regularly and you'll be informed of any new pages I add!


RN, Certified Wellness Coach

Immune System Logo More Information on Autoimmune Diseases

Lupus Treatment - Here Are The Natural Ways To Treat Lupus!
Drug Induced Lupus - Know The Drugs That Can Trigger Lupus Symptoms.
Neonatal Lupus - A Type of Lupus Passed From Mother to Baby.
Autoimmune Diseases - When Your Body Attacks Itself.



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