Types of Lupus

There are several different types of lupus, including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Discoid lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous Lupus, Neonatal Lupus, and Drug-Induced Lupus. When people use the term “lupus,” they are usually referring to SLE.

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): so-named because it affects many different organ systems in the body. It is marked by chronic inflammation, especially of the kidneys, joints, and skin. The cardiovascular and nervous systems can also be affected. 
  • Cutaneous Lupus: also referred to as lupus limited to the skin. Three types of skin lupus exist: chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus, subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus, and tumid lupus. A skin biopsy is usually obtained to diagnose skin lupus. 
  • Drug-Induced Lupus: certain drugs can cause lupus-like symptoms in people who do not have SLE. However, this form of lupus is temporary and usually subsides within months of the time that the medication is stopped. Medications known to induce lupus-like symptoms in some individuals include the blood pressure medications hydralazine and methyldopa, a heart medication called procainamide, and a drug called D-penicillamine, which is used in cases of metal poisoning. Other causes of drug-induced lupus include minocycline (used to treat acne) and anti-TNF (used to treat rheumatoid arthritis).
  • Neonatal Lupus: a type of lupus that affects babies of women with certain autoantibodies. About 1 in 1000 perfectly healthy women possesses either these antibodies and a mother who gives birth to a child with neonatal lupus may not have lupus herself. In total, only about 40% of women bearing children with neonatal lupus actually have lupus. Usually neonatal lupus involves only the baby’s skin and subsides on its own, even without treatment. 

To learn more visit Johns Hopkins Lupus Center.