I tried Lyrica (pregabalin) without success earlier in the fall. It works by mimicking GABA, an amino acid that acts as a neuro-inhibitor. The problem with Lyrica is that it crosses the blood-brain barrier, which results in a drunk-like, tipsy feeling (I equated it to vertigo, since that was my only common point of reference). However, GABA is available over-the-counter and does not cross the blood-brain barrier, so you can get a similar benefit as far as pain reduction and energy boosting without the weird neurological side effects. However, you may want to take a few days to see how it affects you. It supposedly has a sedative effect, but it makes me wired, so I can only take it in the morning. I believe that it has had a positive effect on my fatigue. Granted, I still get tired, but not to the extant that I did before starting GABA.
On another note, I have a theory about that antibiotic intolerance. How long did you take the antibiotic (and what was it?)? Before I got positively diagnosed with lupus this year, my doctor and I were operating under the theory that it could be Lyme disease. Fortunately, I had a fairly open-minded doctor who was willing to listen to my theories and work with me to figure things out. He was very comfortable giving my doxycycline, a very safe antibiotic used to treat acne and other bacterial skin problems. I was on and off it several times, and it almost always followed a similar pattern. The day I would start, I felt like a million bucks, and then I would "crash" for two or three days, and then slowly get better over the next couple of weeks. Once I recovered from that flare, I would have to say that the results were similar to (and usually better than) the plaquenil I've been taking this year. (Plus, it cleared up the acne and mouth ulcers rather nicely!)
Now, why are we so sun sensitive? Exposure to UV rays kills skin cells, and then our immune system (over)responds by sending in 20 battalions to handle a minor local drive-by shooting. In a similar matter, when we take an antibiotic, our systems are flooded with dead bacteria, which sends our immune systems into overdrive and causes a flare. Based on my experiences (and the fact that antibiotic therapy has been proven to be effective with RA and other AI diseases), I suspect that after you make it through that first flare, lupus symptoms will be reduced because the antibiotic keeps bacterial activity below a level that triggers the immune system to overreact (ie. it removes some of the stress from our immune systems). Unfortunately, my rheumatologist doesn't seem to be too open-minded about any of my ideas (even though he readily admits he doesn't know everything about how lupus affects our bodies), so I haven't had a chance to try plaquenil and doxycycline at the same time. (On a side note, my eye doctor even suggested doxy as a treatment for my recurring scleritis, and even the rheumatologist said that it is useful for treating chronic dry eye...) If anybody has an open-minded rheumatologist and is willing to suffer a possible short-term flare for a probable long-term benefit, I would love to know how antibiotic therapy affects lupus symptoms for other people, specifically joint pain, fatigue, nausea, etc.
(Please, no replies about doxy causing drug-induced lupus - I've already researched that, and it's not true. One of it's relatives, minocycline, has been known to do so, but is still extremely rare.)