Updated Review of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Abstract

It is estimated that over 50 % of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have utilized complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments to reduce symptoms and manage their health. However, there are relatively few randomized controlled trials of CAM for SLE. This review describes recent studies of vitamins and supplements, acupuncture, and mind-body interventions in SLE patients. The recent trials of CAM treatments for SLE indicate that supplements such as vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, N-acetyl cysteine and turmeric show some promise for reducing SLE disease activity. In addition, mind-body methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and other counseling interventions may improve mood and quality of life in SLE.

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Acknowledgments

Carol M. Greco and Susan Manzi have received grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (R01 AR046588 and K24 AR002213 for Susan Manzi). Susan Manzi has also served on an NIAID-NIH study section. Carol M. Greco also receives support from the NIH-National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (R01 AR057338) and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (R01 AT006453).

The authors would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Mary Lou Klem, research librarian at the University of Pittsburgh’s Health Sciences Library System, for conducting literature searches for this article.

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Conflict of Interest

Susan Manzi serves on the board for the Lupus Foundation of America, serves as a consultant for Exagen Diagnostics, and has been the co-holder of several patents.

Carol M. Greco and Claire Nakajima declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with animal subjects performed by any of the authors. With regard to the authors’ research cited in this paper, all procedures were followed in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 and 2008.

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Correspondence to Carol M. Greco.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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Greco, C.M., Nakajima, C. & Manzi, S. Updated Review of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Curr Rheumatol Rep 15, 378 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11926-013-0378-3

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Keywords

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Complementary medicine
  • Alternative medicine
  • Integrative medicine
  • Supplements
  • Acupuncture
  • Vitamins
  • Mind–body treatments
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Meditation
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • N-acetyl cysteine
  • Turmeric
  • DHEA
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B6
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Fish oil
  • Oxidative stress
  • Anti-oxidants