The lupus takes its name from one of its symptoms: skin rash on the face in form of mask called « wolf » (from the Latin lupus). Autoimmune, this chronic inflammatory disease is linked to dysfunction of immune defenses, which turn against the body. The damage can be limitated to scars (face, décolleté, hands) cause joint pains or reach other organs (nervous system, venous, muscular). We talk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), disseminated (SED) or systemic. Lupus evolves by flares of very variable frequency. Average age women (between 20 years and 40 years) are most exposed and some factors favour its appearance, as a genetic predisposition, hormonal disorders, excessive sun exposure and tobacco.


Originally still poorly known, lupus does not benefit currently of a curative treatment. However existing drug adapted to the localisation and severity of damages, can treat flares, to avoid complications and prevent their reappearance. The treatment of skin lesions mainly based on the use of products with corticosteroids(creams,ointment). They are prescribed in high doses during flares and then progressively reduced to a minimal doses, even until the stop of medication intake, in case of remission. Patients have to be regularly followed, because the prolonged use of these drugs can cause many side effects (weight gain high blood pressure, hormonal disruptions, the increase of the risk of infection….). In case of joint damage, corticosteroids can also be deliver in the form of infiltrations in the joints.

The treatment of systemic lupus based on taking for several months synthesis antimalaria drugs, which act on the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties. Drug intake requires a regular monitoring of blood, heart and retina, these drugs can in particular affect color vision. Immunosuppressant can also be  used to treat serious damages organs. Their side effects (viral or bacterial infections) explain the close medical follow-up associated with the treatment. Finally, smoking cessation or limitation of sun exposure are integral part of treatment and participate in crisis preventions.

« SCIENCES ET AVENIR », April 2015.