Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system is attacking healthy tissue in your body.

Overview and Symptoms
There is wide variation from person to person in the types, severity, and progression of symptoms. SLE can cause inflammation and damage to the skin, joints, and muscles; membranes of the lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain; and blood vessels.


Treatment for SLE is designed to slow damage to organs, reduce inflammation, alleviate pain and other symptoms, and reduce the risk of flare-ups. They include:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers
  • Medications that suppress the immune system
  • Medications to reduce inflammation
  • Anticoagulants to prevent blood clots
  • Antimalarial medications to treat skin rashes, mouth sores, and joint pain, as well as to reduce blood-clot risk
  • Intravenous monoclonal antibodies that target specific parts of the immune system

Learn More

The Lupus Center of Excellence at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is committed to providing comprehensive, high quality, state of the art, prompt care to patients with lupus.

Visit the Lupus Center