Systemic Vasculitis: Treatment

Most cases of vasculitis are treated with prescription medicines. The main goal of treatment is to stop the inflammation in the affected blood vessels. Most treatments do this by stopping the immune or inflammatory response that caused the vasculitis to occur.

There are two types of prescription medicines that are typically used to treat vasculitis: corticosteroid medicines and cytotoxic medicines.

  • Corticosteroid Medicines. These medicines are used to reduce the inflammation in the blood vessels. Examples of corticosteroids that the doctor might prescribe include prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone.

  • Cytotoxic Medicines. Cytotoxic medicines are typically used to treat cancer, but certain drugs also can be used to treat vasculitis. They may be prescribed in severe cases or in cases in which the patient did not respond to corticosteroids. Sometimes, the two medicines are prescribed together. Cytotoxic medicines work by killing the cells that have caused the inflammation. Examples of these medicines include azathioprine and cyclophosphamide.
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