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What's the treatment for vasculitis?

Treatment of vasculitis is generally the same, no matter what organ or tissue is involved. The goal is to decrease the immune system's production of antibodies, usually with medications called steroids. Steroids, such as prednisone, stop inflammation. Severe cases may be treated with a drug called cyclophosphamide, which kill immune system cells. However, these types of drugs can have serious side effects. Mild cases of vasculitis may not even require treatment. People with

temperol arteritis, Henoch-Schönlein syndrome, and vasculitis resulting from a drug reaction can recover fully with treatment. Kawasaki's disease with vasculitis of the heart is often fatal.

A combination of steroids (prednisolone) and cyclophosphamide is usually used. These are both powerful drugs that reduce the activity of the immune system, reducing the activity of vasculitis. High doses of these drugs are normally given for the first 3-6 months after which doses are reduced to maintenance levels. Some treatment is needed for at least 2 years and in many cases for the rest of your life.

These drugs can cause serious side effects and very careful monitoring is required for the sake of safety. The main side effect is infection. There is a risk of severe urine infection or pneumonia during the first few months of treatment and any fevers or possible infection should be reported urgently to your doctor.

In some cases the kidneys are so badly damaged before doctors see the patient that there is little point in giving a lot of treatment and it is best to leave the patient on dialysis treatment, and not to risk lots of serious side effects if there is little benefit to be gained.

More information on vasculitis

What is vasculitis? - Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels that can affect any blood vessel in any part of the body.
What causes vasculitis? - For many forms of vasculitis, the cause is unknown. For some types, however, infections may be the cause.
What're the symptoms of vasculitis? - General symptoms of vasculitis include fever, achiness, arthritis pain, appetite and weight loss, and low energy.
How is vasculitis diagnosed? - The types of vasculitis are distinguished by the type of blood vessel affected, the appearance of biopsy tissue of affected organs on light microscopy.
What's the treatment for vasculitis? - The goal of te treatment for vasculitis is to decrease the immune system's production of antibodies.
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