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What is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus)?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The immune system develops antibodies that attack and harm the body’s healthy tissues and organs. At present there is no cure.1
The term ‘lupus’ was derived from the Latin word for wolf in an effort to describe one of the disease’s most recognizable features: the rash on the cheeks that suggests a wolf-like appearance.1
How is it caused?
The cause of lupus is unknown, but is thought to be multifactorial, with genetic, hormonal and environmental factors all playing a role. No single test exists to determine whether a person has lupus, meaning that the disease often goes undiagnosed.2
There are three main types of lupus:1
Common symptoms of lupus
The most common symptoms of lupus in both men and women are:3
How common is lupus?
Treatments for lupus
1. The Lupus site. What is Lupus?. http://www.thelupussite.com/lupus1.html (accessed August 2012)
2. Lupus UK. http://www.lupusuk.org.uk/what-is-lupus/the-triggers (accessed August 2012)
3. Arthritis Research UK http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org (accessed August 2012)
4. Makover ME. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Systemic lupus erythematosus. http:// www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000435.htm Last updated February 2011 (accessed June 2012)
5. Scott LH et al. Belimumab: A Guide to Its Use in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Biodrugs 2012; 26 (3): 195-199
Oct 2012 - UK/12CI0090a