View Full Version : HELP, How long do flare ups last with sub acute lupus?

11-05-2006, 02:18 PM
I have just been diagnosed through a skin biopsy with Sub-acute cutaneous lupus erythematosus on friday after 3 weeks of trying other things. I am misserable! I have a very severe case all over my face, neck, back, and chest. It itches like crazy! I am not sleeping, etc. I am taking a ton of antihystamienes and it barely takes away the itching. Any suggestion?? I am seeing my dermotologist tomorrow and I want to do ANY treatment that is available to get rid of this quickly.

Can anyone tell me how long these usually last if they run their own course? Am I going to have to deal with this for weeks or months or is there anything they can do to make it go away very quickly. I am willing to be hospitalized, whatever at this point. I need some immediate relief. Any suggestions? Any experience with this? Thank you!

11-05-2006, 03:52 PM
Subacute cutaneous Lupus is a subset of lupus erythematosus intermediate between discoid lupus erythematosus and systemic lupus erythematosus. It is characterized discoid plaques or lesions on the skin, occurring mainly around the neck, on the back and front of the bocy and on the outer parts of the arms. They usually heal without scarring. Photosensitivity, non-scarring alopecia (hair-loss) and mouth ulcers often also occur.
Usually you will see non-scarring, erythematosus (red), coin-shaped lesion which are very photosensitive (gets worse when exposed to UV light). This type of lesion, which is characteristic of subacute cutaneous lupus, occurs in lupus patients who, approximately 50% of the time, demonstrate features of systemic lupus erythematosus. Unlike the discoid lupus lesions, these lesions do not produce permanent scarring, but can be of major cosmetic significance.
The treatment of skin disease in lupus erythematosus involves the use of a number of drugs as well as the use of sunscreens. Individual lupus lesions can be treated with the topical application of steroid creams, the application of a steroid impregnated tape to cover the lupus lesion, or the intralesional injection of low doses of steroid. Widespread lupus lesions are frequently treated using hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) alone, or in combination with, a short burst of oral steroids (plaquenil usually takes several weeks before results are seen). On very unusual occasions, unmanageable, cosmetically objectionable lupus lesions have been successfully treated with vitamin A derivatives (such as Tegison).

Sun protection can do a lot to prevent the development of lupus skin lesions. You should avoid prolonged periods of exposure to sunlight. Also, the regular use of sunscreens with a sun protective factor rating of SPF 15 or above will also provide protection. In recent years, research has shown that ultraviolet light of long wavelengths, as well as ultraviolet light in the sunburn spectrum, is capable of producing lupus skin lesions. Sunscreens capable of blocking this long wave ultraviolet light are now available. In contrast to ordinary sunscreens which generally contain paraminobenzoic acid (PABA) esters and benzophones, these sunscreens are actually sunblocks and contain titanium oxide.

With reference to Lupus flares, the broad range of clinical manifestations in Lupus makes diagnosis and recognition of a flare very difficult. Flares of the illness are highly variable from one patient to the next. They may involve only one or many organ systems. Signs and symptoms may include skin rash, oral or nasal ulcers, arthritis, pleurisy, or pericarditis (inflamation of the lining of the lungs or hear, respectively), neurologic problems (seizure, psychiatric problems), or general fatigue, among others. However, a flare may also be indicated only by laboratory abnormalities such as protein or cells in the urine or low white blood count or platelet count, in the absence of the clinical symptoms listed ablve. Thereby, making it even more difficult to predict a flare.
Just as flares are difficult to predict, it is also almost impossible to determine the length of any one flare as they are different for each person. Each person has his or her own combination of symptoms of Lupus and these symptoms range from mild to severe and each person's pattern of lupus flares tends to be unique. Treatment of Lupus is designed to control the symptoms and reduce the number of flare-ups. You will get to know your body and may be able to detect early warning signs of flares.
I hope that this has been helpful to you! Let me know if you need anything further!
Peace and Blessings

11-09-2006, 11:23 PM
Thank you for the information. This is pretty much all I have been able to find online. The biopsy determined I do not have the regular SLE Lupus so I do not have any other organs affected....thank goodness! Just this horrible rash. I was hoping someone could speak to the duration of this particular sun induced rash. I dont know if this will last another few weeks, a month, or years. I know everyone is different but I was hoping someone could give me some kind of range, i.e. "i had this rash after sun exposure and it faded in one month" or "it faded in a year". LOL. Just trying to see if anyone else has experienced this and can give me some general ranges. Thanks.

11-10-2006, 12:01 PM
Some of the people on the forum have used a product called Miracell for the lupus lesions so you might ask your doctor about this.

I have systemic lupus, but my older brother has the same form of cutaneous lupus you do. He has to be very careful about sun exposure but heat, hot water and bright indoor lights also make him worse. He uses a non-soap product - cetaphil - to clean the lesions - an olive oil based product called Olivella is also very gentle and will help reduce some of the blistering and cracking of your skin.

He has found the best results from thalidomide but I don't know if this medication can be used for women, as it causes birth defects in children. If the lesions don't respond to steroids, stronger immunosuppressants like methotrexate or cellcept can be used.

If you have lesions on your face the dermablend cosmetics are very effective concealers, and should not irritate your skin further - you can find them in most major department stores.