Possible New Lupus Treatments
The Following are possible treatments for Lupus. It should be noted that None of these have been approved or are regulated by the FDA. Many are still in the trial stages! Some of you may have already heard about these treatments!
This is provided strictly FYI :-)
The first new drug for mild to moderate lupus to be developed in some time is on the fast track. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an old drug with potentially important antilupus properties. A natural body substance made by the adrenal gland, DHEA has been available for more than 50
years and is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. DHEA is a hormone with male- like properties. Investigators have been interested in male hormones (androgens) because in animal studies they tend to decrease the immune response while female hormones (such as
estrogen) tend to amplify it.
DHEA has additional effects that may have widespread implications. In animal models and human studies it has demonstrated potential to decrease obesity, reduce lipid levels, slow or halt osteoporosis, improve cognitive functioning, and increase levels of an important cytokine known
as interleukin-2. Levels of DHEA decrease with age, and lupus patients at any age have less DHEA than one might expect. Several hundred lupus patients have been given the drug in trials, and preliminary evidence
suggests that it has anti-inflammatory effects in mild and moderate lupus and can steroid-sparing as well as being well tolerated with antimalarials. The therapeutic dose appears to be in the 50 mg to 200 mg range.
Even though it is premature to make any conclusive statements about DHEA, this hormone is a promising therapy that may be useful for lupus patients with non-organ threatening disease who do not have a complete response to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antimalarials or low
dose steroids. It could possibly commercially available in a reliable form in 2-3 years.
What are the side effects of DHEA?
The major side effects encountered thus far include acne and facial hair growth. Some patients have reported headaches, irritability and fluid retention. The drug appears to be well tolerated and is currently being studied in a multicenter, double-blind study that our center has participated in.
What is LJP394?
It is a new drug undergoing trials, to evaluate the potential to prevent renal flares; reduce disease severity, the need for immunosuppressive steroids/chemotherapy drugs and hospitalization; and
improve patients' quality of life.
LJP 394 is designed to tolerize or shut down pathogenic B cells, arresting their production of antibodies to double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). Antibodies to dsDNA are widely believed to be responsible for lupus nephritis (kidney disease), a principal cause of morbidity and death in lupus patients.
A double-blind placebo controlled trial using patients with mild lupus symptoms explored the activity of LJP 394 using varying dosages and frequencies of administration. The drug was well tolerated with no clinically significant dose related adverse reactions observed. In patients receiving weekly 10 or 50 mg doses of LJP 394, antibodies to dsDNA were reduced and remained suppressed for up to two months after the last dose.
LJP (La Jolla Pharmaceuticals) scientists have designed LJP 394 to specifically arrest the production of dsDNA antibodies without compromising the protective functions of the immune system.
Is marketed for the treatment of endometriosis. It is an anti-oestrogen hormone, which has been found to improve autoimmune hemolytic anaemia & low platelet counts associated with SLE.
Inhibits the secretion of breast milk by blocking the actions of prolactin, the hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk. Considerable evidence has accumulated indicating that many lupus patients have elevated prolactin levels. This, in turn, is associated with an immune dysfunction.