Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antimalarial drugs, and corticosteroids help to reduce inflammation and prevent flare-ups of lupus. However, they also have many side effects. Some of these effects include kidney, blood, and heart problems as well as vision and muscle issues. Corticosteroids are especially harmful, causing individuals to gain weight, bruise often, and develop osteoporosis or diabetes. Because corticosteroids can be so detrimental, doctors often prescribe calcium and vitamin D to take along with the corticosteroids.
Flaxseed and fish oil are alternative treatments that have proven helpful in some cases of lupus. However, these also have side effects. Fish oil can cause nausea and bad breath, while flaxseed can cause stomach discomfort.