At Last, a New Lupus Drug

Really good news for people with lupus — the first new drug in 50 years has just been approved by the FDA.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, systemic lupus erythematosus (its formal name) is a type of autoimmune condition. Under normal circumstances, the immune system protects the body against bacteria and viruses. But in autoimmune disorders, the immune system mistakes parts of the person’s own body for foreign invaders.

Lupus can have wide-ranging and severe effects, because the immune system can attack and damage the skin, kidneys, lungs, brain, blood, heart, and joints. You can imagine that, with this many potential targets, lupus can wreak havoc. Patients with lupus (many of whom are young women) can have kidney failure, shortness of breath, severe skin rashes, arthritis-like joint disability, memory problems, and more.

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