Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Lupus

Acupuncture, Dietary Supplements, and Massage:  Will They Work?

Many people look to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to help them deal with their lupus symptoms. These treatments may provide you with relief of your symptoms, including fatigue and joint pain.

However, we should stress that complementary and alternative treatments don’t work the same for everyone:  another person with lupus may find relief with a certain treatment, but when you try it, you experience no relief.  That is all right:  you may need to try several treatments before you find something that works for you.

What Are Complementary and Alternative Treatments?
Complementary and alternative medicine treatments are actually the same treatments—it just depends how you’re using them. Complementary treatments are used with traditional medicine (eg, medications), while alternative treatments are used in place of traditional medicine.

A word of caution: Some CAM treatments can interact with medications you’re taking, or they may make your symptoms worse. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get your doctor’s approval before starting a CAM treatment for lupus. Your doctor can also help you weigh the pros and cons of CAM.

Although little research has shown that complementary and alternative treatments are beneficial for lupus, some patients have found relief from some of these treatments. You may want to consider trying the following CAM treatments for lupus:

  • Acupuncture
  • Dietary supplements, flaxseed, fish oil, and vitamin D
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation

Incorporating CAM into Your Treatment Plan
The bottom line when it comes to complementary and alternative medicine treatments for lupus: Don’t rely on them to treat your lupus symptoms, but if your doctor says they’re okay to try, you may want to consider them. As always, be honest with your doctor about all the complementary and alternative treatments you try for lupus so that you can get the best care you can.


Updated on: 11/19/15