The diagnosis of DLE is done through a skin biopsy. Doctors will examine a sample of skin, removed from an active sore, for certain characteristics. Blood testing will also be conducted to view antibodies within the blood. This testing should show normal antibodies within the blood. The presence of abnormal antibodies is a sign of Systemic Lupus. Should these antibodies be found in the blood, the skin sores may be a symptom of SLE rather than DLE. Over time, 5 percent to10 percent of patients with discoid lupus may develop SLE.
The main course of treatment for Discoid Lupus involves skin cream. Steroid creams may be applied to affected skin as a way to reduce inflammation, while sunscreens are used for the protection of the skin from sun exposure. Oral steroid medication may also be used to treat severe skin outbreaks, but are generally avoided due to the medication’s extensive side effects.
Reviewed by: Michael Fuller, MD