Autoimmune Disease Treatment
When finding the right treatment for your autoimmune disease, several factors come into play, including the type of disease, how severe it is, and any accompanying symptoms. The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms, preserve organ function, and target disease mechanisms. Specialists in this field of treatment include rheumatologists, endocrinologists, and neurologists.
Autoimmune diseases, also known as autoimmune disorders, take many forms. The choice of autoimmune disease treatment will depend on the type of disease, how severe the disease is, and the symptoms of the disease. Generally, treatment options have one of three goals:
- Relieving symptoms
- Preserving organ function
- Targeting disease mechanisms.
If your autoimmune disease symptoms bother you, your doctor may suggest treatments that can provide some relief. Relieving symptoms may involve medication or surgery.
Preserving Organ Function
When an autoimmune disease threatens organs, autoimmune disease treatment may be needed to prevent damage. Such treatments may include drugs to control an inflamed kidney in people with lupus, or insulin injections that can regulate blood sugar in people with diabetes. Although these treatments will not stop the autoimmune disease, they can save organ function and help people live with disease-related complications.
Targeting Disease Mechanisms
Some drugs may also be used to target how the disease works. In other words, they can suppress the immune system. Autoimmune disorder medications include cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®) and cyclosporine (Neoral® and Sandimmune®). The same immune-suppressing drug may be used for many diseases.