Good news on the lupus front: a recent study found no clear indication that the occurrence of lymphoma is mostly driven by drug treatments for lupus. Also no clear association was observed between disease activity and lymphoma risk. Both very positive items of note!
The treatments that were studied included cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), azathioprine (Imuran), methotrexate, mycophenolate (CellCept), anti-malarial drugs (e.g. Plaquenil), and steroids (e.g. prednisone).
Years ago, when I considered starting Cellcept, the risk of lymphoma was a major red flag for me. Granted, not red enough to dissuade me from taking it, but it was still a concern. In the end, I opted to start Cellcept, despite the risk of lymphoma, knowing that the combination of medications I was already taking wasn't sufficient to keep my disease activity under control. I needed to step up my defense, and my doctor thought Cellcept was the best option. Turns out, he was right!
Cellcept and I had a lovely 3-year long relationship - just long enough for Cellcept to do its job, and for my body to regain strength and stability. I suffered very few side-effects during those three years, and only decided to stop taking it when I decided to try and get pregnant. Thankfully, my doctor was able to switch me back to a combination of Plaquenil and prednisone without any spike in disease activity at all. That dynamic duo, along with the hypertension drug Cozaar (to control protein in my urine), seem to be doing the trick still today. Add a baby aspirin and a few calcium pills, and there you have my daily drug regimen. Which reminds me - time to fill up my Pillfold for the week!
You can read more about the lupus-lymphoma study here.