Plaquenil (anti-malarial) helps keep Lupus "quiet", while Prednisone reduces inflammation. Generally a Lupus patient will remain on Plaquenil indefinitely (ie forever), and use Prednisone as needed to get the inflammation under control. (Flares == Inflammation.)
For most patients, long -term use of Prednisone is needed for the first few months or years until the flaring reduces or stops. In my case, I took 15-20 mg for about
6 years before I was able to taper down for a while at 5-10 mg. Then within another year or so my lupus quieted and I'm not prednisone-free.
I don't think there is a particular average age - we have patients here anywhere from 14 - 86 for their first episode. Age of diagnosis has nothing to do with progression. Lupus is not necessarily a progressive disease, it can go "quiet" for long periods, or it can get quite serious very fast. It's known as the disease of 10,000 faces, because given 10,000 people the disease will act very differently between them all. In my case, I feel better now than I did the two years *before* my diagnosis in 2002.
Hope you feel better soon,
Post Edited By Moderator (aimsgirl16) : 11/26/2011 9:25:01 AM (GMT-7)