another question

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 1/4/2014 12:37 PM (GMT -6)   
I have another question, sorry I am so full of them; this is a very confusing diagnosis.  Are the weakened immune system issues from the lupus itself, or from the steroids to control it? I am on plaquenil, but no steroids. Am I still at increased risk for getting sick? I do seem to get sick ALOT.
I got thinking about this as I was disinfecting my daughter's stuff after dance class (Norovirus is going around...Ick!)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7725
   Posted 1/4/2014 1:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Ok, Lupus is a OVER active immune system, so it attacks everything, not just the bad germs. Like saying, "hey I think that foot is an enemy", and attacking it causing inflammation.

So, some of the meds we take are to DECREASE the immune system so it doesn't attack the normal body. This also means that it is weaker in it's attack on various bad germs, thus we need to be more cautious against germs, esp. around children & all the things they pass around.

If you are ONLY on plaquenil, there probably isn't any need for extra concern, as it doesn't dampen the immune system. And steroids decrease inflammation, again that doesn't dampen the immune system.

Other Lupus meds, such as Imuran, Cellcept, MTX, Benylsta ... are affecting our overactive immune systems, trying to shut off the oversensitivity. Since this is all imprecise, this often leaves us MORE susceptible to random bad germs.

All that said, you are probably at no more risk than the average person, but I know plenty of average, even healthy people who've been down 2-3 weeks this year due to whatever is going around.

I generally stick with the basics - don't touch anyone sick, wash hands often, and other generally good practices like that. Haven't been sick since I got Lupus, how crazy is that?

Hope that helps
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator, Dx: 2002
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 1/4/2014 2:36 PM (GMT -6)   
What Lynnwood said. She seems to be able to explain it way better than my dr's have done.
Systemic Lupus, Connective Tissue Disease, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Raynauds, Anxiety and Depression.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 1/5/2014 12:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for explaining it so well!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1344
   Posted 1/5/2014 10:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Plaquinel is not usually thought of as an immunosuppressant but it is thought to interfere with immune system communication and in effect does suppress the immune system.

Also, prednisone does have a strong immunosuppressant effect which is why it is often the first line of treatment for many autoimmune diseases.

MCTD (SLE Lupus, polymyositis, scleroderma). Diagnosed 2005. Kidney, liver, GI tract, dysphagia, raynauds, barretts esophagus, quadriplegic in 2005. Recovered and now active in downhill skiing, golf, hiking. Meds: amlodipine, benezapril, omeprazole, potassium, folic acid, vitamins, maxide.

Remain Optimistic and you can overcome.
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