Vasculitis is usually treatable with medication. Your treatment plan depends on the organs affected and if you have additional medical conditions. After your NYU Langone rheumatologist has identified the type of vasculitis causing your symptoms, he or she works with you to develop a customized care plan to alleviate your symptoms and prevent further organ or tissue damage.
Medication to reduce inflammation is the primary goal of most treatment for vasculitis. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of corticosteroids and immune-suppressing medications, which control inflammation. The types of steroids and immunosuppressants prescribed depend on the severity of vasculitis.
People with some forms of vasculitis take a combination of steroids and immunosuppressants for three to six months, or until symptoms subside.
Other forms of vasculitis require taking medicine for a longer period of time. If vasculitis is caused by another condition, such as hepatitis, steroids and immunosuppressants may not be appropriate. Your doctor would then prescribe medication to treat the underlying condition.
Many forms of vasculitis can be cured with medication. Other types of vasculitis can go into remission—when the signs and symptoms of the condition disappear—but come back, or flare up, at any time. It’s impossible to predict when vasculitis might flare up. Sometimes this occurs when people stop treatment or when medication doses are lowered in an attempt to avoid side effects.
To maintain remission, many people take immunosuppressants with or without steroids for several years. During this time, your doctor works with you to eliminate the use of corticosteroids or to lessen the dose of these medications. Most people respond well to this course of treatment, enter remission, and can eventually stop taking medication.