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Doctor insights on: Discoid Lupus

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Dr. Emily Altman
62 doctors shared insights

Discoid Lupus (Overview)

Discoid lupus (think singer seal) is seen by itself or with systemic lupus erythematosus (sle). Abut 25% of sle pts have discoid symptoms. If discoid lupus is by itself, 5-10% of them will go on to have sle, but the disease is relatively mild. Discoid lesions are areas of inflammation that go through the dermal layer of skin, causing scarring (like stretch marks). Sometimes mistaken for psoriasis.


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Are there official recommendations for treating discoid lupus?

Are there official recommendations for treating discoid lupus?

Yes: You already know to stay out of the sun / use sunblock / broad brim hat. You probably have a fluorinated glucocorticoid -- a little can go a long way. Some physicians will try oral antimalarials for discoid lupus. ...Read more

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Dr. Emily Altman
62 doctors shared insights

Discoid Lupus (Overview)

Discoid lupus (think singer seal) is seen by itself or with systemic lupus erythematosus (sle). Abut 25% of sle pts have discoid symptoms. If discoid lupus is by itself, 5-10% of them will go on to have sle, but the disease is relatively mild. Discoid lesions are areas of inflammation that go through the dermal layer of skin, causing scarring (like stretch marks). Sometimes mistaken for psoriasis.


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What are the symptoms of discoid lupus? 

Scarring rash: Lupus affects in the skin in discoid lupus and in some cases of sle. There is redness usually on the cheeks, nose , possibly ears and scalp. It can show broken blood vessels, depressed scars, and a purple border. Topical or injections of steroids are often helpful. In more severe case oral antimalarials are used. ...Read more

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Living with Lupus (Checklist)

Schedule regular clinic visits with rheumatologist & don't miss them
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Take all of your medications every day. Discuss changes with rheum doc.
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Avoid unprotected sun exposure. Wear SPF30+ and a hat everyday.
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Get plenty of rest every day -- fatigue can trigger flares
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What are the tests for discoid lupus?

Exam is best: The sores with pale center and dark rim, uneven scales / crusts are usually easy to diagnose on physical exam by a general physician; any dermatologist can make the call easily. If there is doubt, punch biopsy shows distinctive features to the pathologist that will remove any doubt; both a standard stain and a "lupus band test" may be performed. Dle is usually manageable but not curable. ...Read more

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Does any one treat discoid lupus?

Yes: Any dermatologist can manage, but not cure, common discoid lupus. You already know to avoid sunlight. Topical or intralesional glucocorticoids have been standard for decades. Systemic Chloroquine or a similar drug are often helpful as well. Topical calcineurin inhibitors are a relatively new addition, and there are reports of success with topical retinoic acid derivatives. ...Read more

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What is the treatment for discoid lupus erythematosus?

Less sun, some Rx: Sun protection, topical steroids, avoidance of any drug which may have provoked the dle. If no better in 2-4 weeks, cortisone injections into the lesions or topical calcineurin inhibitors. If still no better in 2-4 more weeks, oral hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial medication. There are even further treatment for refractory cases but the above usually works. ...Read more

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What is the description, conditions, symtoms, risk factors & treatments assocated with discoid lupus?

What is the description, conditions, symtoms, risk factors & treatments assocated with discoid lupus?

Discoid Lupus (DLE): DLE is a chronic cutaneous autoimmune skin disorder characterized by DLE cerythematous-to-violaceous, scaly plaques with prominent follicular plugging that often results in scarring and atrophy (see the images below). DLE may occur in the absence of systemic disease, or it may occur in association with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Read this:emedicine.medscape.com/article/1065529-overview ...Read more

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Why don't men want to go to doctors? My husband has discoid lupus, and I feel I have to drag him in to be seen. What will happen to him without treatment?

Discoid lupus: Fortunately only about 5% of patients with discoid lupus (dle) go on to develop systemic lupus (sle). However dle can be disfiguring. I would certainly suggest he see a dermatologist to explore his treatment options. ...Read more

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