Lupus

Lupus

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Specialists in Duke’s nationally-ranked rheumatology program are renowned for their research and treatment of lupus, an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints, kidneys, and skin. We use innovative approaches to minimize your symptoms of pain and fatigue, and we're continually researching new ways to stop the progression of lupus.

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About Lupus

Lupus is a complex disease that can be difficult to diagnose, with symptoms ranging from fatigue and skin rashes to painful, swollen joints and fever.

Our experienced rheumatologists have the skills and tools to make an accurate diagnosis. We work with specialists across Duke to manage the effects of lupus on your body’s multiple systems and organs. Our comprehensive approach to care helps you lead a normal, active life.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Treatments

We strive to manage the fatigue, fever, joint pain, skin rashes, and other symptoms of lupus, allowing you to resume the activities you enjoy. Your treatments options may include:

Hydroxychloroquine

Relieves lupus symptoms such as skin rashes, joint pain, fatigue, and mouth sores.

Prednisone

This corticosteroid reduces swelling, pain, and inflammation in the most aggressive cases of lupus.

Methotrexate

A disease-modifying antirheumatic drug commonly used to treat arthritis and rheumatic conditions.

Biologic Agents

Also known as biologic response modifiers, these medications target specific areas in the immune system to reduce lupus’s inflammatory effects.

Physical Therapy

Aquatic exercise, biking, walking, or stretching can help relieve the joint pain and swelling associated with lupus.

Psychological Counseling

Depression and sleep problems are common among patients with lupus. We strive to find the best therapies to manage your symptoms. We also collaborate closely with therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists to develop the best plan for your care.

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Tests

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms appear gradually and may suggest other conditions. Along with a review of your medical history and a comprehensive physical exam, your evaluation -- which may require multiple consults -- may include:

Blood Tests

Your doctor may order blood tests to check for anemia and rheumatoid factors such as antibodies or blood proteins. 

Biopsy

If necessary, a small sample of tissue may be removed from your skin or kidneys to confirm your diagnosis.  

Best Hospital for Rheumatology in NC
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital’s rheumatology program is ranked among the very best in the U.S., and best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.

Expert Lupus Care

Comprehensive, Coordinated Care
Lupus is a complex disorder that can affect your skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system, and other internal organs. Our doctors work closely with Duke dermatologistsnephrologists, psychiatrists, and others to manage your care. You have convenient access to care from multiple experts and the best chance for a positive outcome.

Specialized Care Before and During Pregnancy
We are one of the few centers in the nation to offer care focused on women with lupus who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. We work in close partnership with Duke’s high-risk obstetric doctors to find safe, effective medications to manage your disease and help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

Active Research Program
You may be eligible to participate in clinical trials that test new therapies before they are widely available. Through this research, our physicians are contributing to knowledge about the disease and establishing best practices in caring for lupus patients. You may also participate in research studies that help us better understand lupus and its impact on your daily activities.