Severe Mental Illness in Lupus Patients is Rare, Treatable, and Usually Short-Lived
Severe Mental Illness in Lupus Patients is Rare, Treatable, and Usually Short-Lived

April 18, 2019

A large international study has probed the causes of lupus-related psychosis—a serious condition marked by delusions and hallucinations. Dr. John Hanly and his co-authors at research centers across several continents found that lupus psychosis (LP) is quite rare, affecting only 1.5 percent of people with lupus. They also observed that the condition tends to occur more often in the first few years after a diagnosis with lupus and is more frequent among male patients and patients of African descent.

For people in the middle of a psychotic episode, LP can be extremely debilitating. In looking at the short- and long-term effects of LP among a large group, Dr. Hanly’s team found that most patients can expect to recover quickly and regain their mental health, especially when they receive regular follow-up care.

The findings appeared in a recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatology.

The authors considered the role of corticosteroids such as prednisone, and autoantibodies such as anti-P, in triggering a psychotic episode. However, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to conclude that either causes LP.

The authors concluded that research is needed to weigh the best treatments for LP.

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