Anti-clotting Drug Plavix May Help Treat Lupus

Author: Lynn Woods

French scientists have discovered that lupus patients have excess blood cells called platelets – small cell fragments that circulate in the blood, clumping together to form clots.  These excess and overly-active platelets trigger production of inflammation-promoting proteins called interferons.  Tests on mice given anti-platelet medication showed reduced lupus symptoms and increased life expectancy. The results suggest that anticoagulant drugs like clopidogrel (Plavix) could prevent lupus flare ups in people, and the scientists hope to start clinical trials on humans soon.


Lupus is a chronic, incurable auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system turns on itself, attacking its own tissue.  The resulting inflammation causes pain and damages organs, particularly the kidneys. The most common symptoms include rashes, fever, hair loss, fatigue, aches and pains, and inflammation of the arteries and veins, tendons, brain, kidney and the membrane surrounding the lungs. Serious cases can be life threatening, with patients suffering kidney failure and out of control infections.


About one-and-a-half million Americans have lupus, which can be diagnosed with blood tests. It effects nine times more women than men, and usually strikes between the ages of 15 and 50. Its cause has not yet known, although researchers have identified genetic, hormonal and environmental factors. Some lupus patients have only mild and/or transitory flare ups which may go undiagnosed, while others are debilitated by a more aggressive form of the disease. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antimalarial medications are used to treat milder cases, while more serious attacks are treated with immune system suppressing medications and corticosteroids. There has not been a new medication for the treatment of lupus in 50 years. Current treatments are not 100 percent effective, and can have side effects.


The anti-clotting medication Plavix is the second highest-selling drug in the world (behind the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor). It makes platelets less “sticky” and likely to clump together to form clots, which can lodge in the heart, lungs or brain and cause a heart attack or stroke. Anti-clotting drugs, also called blood thinners, are widely prescribed as a preventative measure for persons who have experienced a heart attack or stroke, or who suffer from heart disease or poor blood circulation due to hardened and narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis).


Being able to treat lupus patients with blood thinner pills could dramatically improve their quality of life, according to the researchers. Plavix can be expensive in the US, where it’s patented until 2012, but cheaper generic Plavix is available in Europe and from Canada.

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About the Author

Lynn Woods is an author who researches and writes about medications.  She feels strongly that everyone should have access to affordable medication, and advises consumers that it is considerably cheaper to buy anti-clotting drugs from Canada than in the US.  One online Canadian pharmacy in particular, Big Mountain Drugs, is offering exceptional savings on Plavix 75 mg and a pharmacy rewards program.

7 thoughts on “Lupus Disease Life Expectancy

  1. lost

    What is the life expectancy of a person with CRF, lupus, and pulmonary fibrosis?
    My sister-in-law has all three diseases. She has had lupus since 1999, renal failure and pulmonary fibrosis since 2006. She now weighs a small 59 pounds at 36 years old. Everywhere I research and every doctor I ask can not give me an honest answer. All I am told is her “quality of life” speech. I need some answers. How much longer can she expect to live? Please no insulting remarks from anyone.

    1. syl c.

      The weight coupled with the diseases doesn’t sound good at all. If her weight continues to drop her life expectancy is shortened dramatically. Prayers with your family.

  2. clcalifornia

    I might have lupus. anyone with some words of wisdom or ways to treat it? Life expectancy?
    Finally a doctor is getting close to finding out what is wrong with me. My liver is bad and it isn’t the kind of liver disease from drinking and or drugs. They say that my body might be destroying my liver. I have already lost other organs in my body to inflammation disease processes. I am so tired of being sick. I am feeling I am at the end of my life. Any input? Treatments? Encouragements?
    Help I want to feel better!

    1. Maria

      Lupus is very treatable. My grandmother was diagnosed with it years and years ago, my mother and my aunt both have it and lead very normal lives. What organs have you lost that you are still here and coherent? That seems weird to me. I don’t see any decent doctor missing a diagnosis of an auto-immune disorder in a patient that has inflammation internally with no known cause. This doesn’t sound right to me.

  3. eliza

    how serious is lupus? does it affect how long you live?
    my mom, who is a RN, was just diagnosed with lupus. she has been crying in her room and i’m really scared that this may be a very serious disease. i don’t want to ask her how serious it is or if it will affect her life expectancy because i don’t want her to feel sad.

    1. jenny h

      Love and support is what your mom needs most. Depending on the severity of the form of Lupus she has, many Lupus patients lead lives as long as anyone else.

  4. eliza

    is lupus or diabetes more serious?
    my dad was diagnosed with diabetes last september and was really upset about it. diabetes runs in both sides of my family. everyone on my dad’s side (except my aunt) that is around my dad’s age or is older has diabetes. some ppl on my mom’s side has diabetes.
    now my mom, who is an RN, was diagnosed with lupus yesterday and is crying right now.
    im really scared right now because both of my parents have some type of disease. i feel like ill lose them both. i don’t want to ask my mom who is really educated about lupus bc i don’t want to make her more upset, but does lupus affect life expectancy?

    and i know that i may be diagnosed with diabetes when i get older since it is so common in my family. but is lupus a genetic disease too?

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