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Researchers Uncover Biological Rationale For Why Intensive Lupus Treatment Works

July 27, 2010

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered the biological rationale for why large doses of corticosteroids given repeatedly over several weeks may help individuals with lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects more than 1 million people in the U.S.

Unlike the anabolic steroids athletes sometimes use illegally to bulk up muscle, corticosteroids are routinely used to treat inflammation in lupus patients. The drugs, however, can cause undesirable side effects including weight gain and acne when taken over long periods of time.

In a study published in a recent issue of Nature, researchers at UT Southwestern and other institutions show in blood cells that giving very high doses of intravenous corticosteroids early and frequently in the course of the disease is more effective at killing the cells that drive lupus than giving the standard limited intravenous steroids followed by high doses of oral corticosteroids over a period of months. The cells used came from lupus patients as well as from animal models of lupus.

"By giving the very high dose early and frequently in the course of the disease, we could actually end up using much less steroids in the long run," said Dr. Marilynn Punaro, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and co-author of the study. "This finding suggests that by doing so, we might be able to get the disease under control more quickly and patients might experience fewer long-term side effects."

Dr. Punaro, who treats patients at Children's Medical Center Dallas and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, said her team often uses this treatment plan referred to as pulse steroids with lupus patients because they've found it can be more effective than standard treatment at maintaining control of the disease.

The standard treatment involves giving very high doses of steroids intravenously for only a few days. Most physicians then transition to a high oral dose and gradually reduce the amount of steroids to the lowest level at which the drugs are still effective.

...

Read the full article here

Source medicalnewstoday.com


Researchers Uncover Biological Rationale For Why Intensive Lupus Treatment Works

July 27, 2010

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered the biological rationale for why large doses of corticosteroids given repeatedly over several weeks may help individuals with lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects more than 1 million people in the U.S.

Unlike the anabolic steroids athletes sometimes use illegally to bulk up muscle, corticosteroids are routinely used to treat inflammation in lupus patients. The drugs, however, can cause undesirable side effects including weight gain and acne when taken over long periods of time.

In a study published in a recent issue of Nature, researchers at UT Southwestern and other institutions show in blood cells that giving very high doses of intravenous corticosteroids early and frequently in the course of the disease is more effective at killing the cells that drive lupus than giving the standard limited intravenous steroids followed by high doses of oral corticosteroids over a period of months. The cells used came from lupus patients as well as from animal models of lupus.

"By giving the very high dose early and frequently in the course of the disease, we could actually end up using much less steroids in the long run," said Dr. Marilynn Punaro, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and co-author of the study. "This finding suggests that by doing so, we might be able to get the disease under control more quickly and patients might experience fewer long-term side effects."

Dr. Punaro, who treats patients at Children's Medical Center Dallas and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, said her team often uses this treatment plan referred to as pulse steroids with lupus patients because they've found it can be more effective than standard treatment at maintaining control of the disease.

The standard treatment involves giving very high doses of steroids intravenously for only a few days. Most physicians then transition to a high oral dose and gradually reduce the amount of steroids to the lowest level at which the drugs are still effective.

...

Read the full article here

Source medicalnewstoday.com