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Question concerning drug induced lupus

Hi. 7 years ago I became extremely ill - pleurisy, pericarditis, acid reflux, painful swollen joints - and it ended up with ambulance and emergency care in the cardiac care unit for a week. I was diagnosed with drug induced lupus - a reaction to a biological drug, infliximab, which I had been receiving for over 6 months.

I was told that with stopping the drug, the lupus would go too.

I now have a really bad throat, and flu like symptoms - but along with those, I am getting the same pains in my elbows, shoulders, stomach and mild (but there most of the time) chest pains similar to those I had when the lupus first reared its head.

I have had one blood test around a year ago which showed no markers for lupus so I thought I was now clear. Could it be re-triggered?

Or is the bug I have just aggravating some old scars left by the lupus?

My gp cant see me until wednesday, although I can call first thing ttomorrow to get an emergency appointment, I just wanted to know if anyone out there had recurring drug induced lupus, or if it does just go when taken off the drug which triggered it.

1 Reply

Hi Doogiex,

Here is what The Lupus Encyclopedia by Donald E Thomas Jr, says about drug-induced lupus;

"Some medicines can evoke a reaction in the immune system, causing it to become overactive; they actually cause a systemic-type of lupus, which is usually less severe. Most people who have drug-induced lupus will experience joint pain or arthritis. Many of them will develop other problems, such as inflammation around the lining of the heart or lungs, causing chest pain (pleurisy). Some individuals will get a rash. There are some differences between SLE and drug-induced lupus. For example, drug-induced lupus affects men and women equally. This is quite different from SLE, where women represent approximately 90% of all people who have SLE. Drug-induced lupus affects more white people than black people, while SLE is more common in black people. In addition, the average age of people affected by drug-induced lupus is about 60 years old, while the average age for onset of SLE is 20 to 30 years old. All individuals who have drug-induced lupus are ANA positive, and most are positive for a blood test called anti-histone antibody as well.

When the person who has drug-induced lupus stops taking the offending medicine, the lupus goes away. This is in sharp contrast to SLE, which is a lifelong disorder."

How long have you been experiencing these symptoms? Have you discussed them with your doctor recently and had any blood tests done?


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