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Systemic Vasculitis - How to prevent?

Systemic Vasculitis - Treatments

The treatment of systemic vasculitis will depend on the specific type of vasculitis and the areas of the body that are involved.

Treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • Medications
    • Glucocorticoids (also called “steroids”). High doses of glucocorticoids may be given into a vein, or oral tablets such as prednisolone may be given. Some people require treatment with long-term glucocorticoids to control symptoms and prevent worsening of the systemic vasculitis. Close monitoring for side-effects of glucocorticoids, such as weight gain, diabetes, osteoporosis (bone-thinning) is needed. When the condition improves, the dosage is then slowly reduced.
    • Additional treatment that suppresses the immune system (i.e. immunosuppressive medications) are also needed for some types of systemic vasculitis. The choice of treatment depends on the specific type of vasculitis and the severity of the disease. Some examples of medications that may be used include:
      • Severe types of vasculitis: Cyclophosphamide, rituximab and plasma exchange.
      • Less severe types of vasculitis: Azathioprine, methotrexate, mycophenolate. These drugs may also be used as “maintenance therapy”, i.e. to control the disease after initial treatment.

    All immunosuppressive medications have the potential of increasing the risk of infections, and each type of medication has important side effects that must be monitored for by a doctor.

  • General Measures
There is currently no cure for systemic vasculitis. But it can be well treated such that patients lead healthy lives. Treatment strategies focus on bringing the disease under control and prevent progression of the disease.

Adherence to medications and your doctor’s appointment is important to prevent relapse of active disease. Physiotherapy is also important for recovery after initial disease has been treated.

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Systemic Vasculitis - Other Information