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Lupus may be treated with immunosuppressive drugs, such as azathioprine (Imuran®) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®, Neosar®) Your doctor may prescribe them if lupus is widely affecting your organs, especially your kidneys.
Other medications used to treat lupus include methotrexate (Rheumatrex®, Folex®), chlorambucil (Leukeran®), cyclosporine (Neoral®, Sandimmune®) and mycophenolate (CellCept®).
Immunosuppressive medications may cause anemia and a low white blood cell count. They may also increase risk of infection and cancer. Your doctor may prescribe them if corticosteroids are not effective or to permit a lower dosage of corticosteroids (to reduce side effects). Sometimes, even with corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs, your kidneys may fail, and you may need kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant.