Lupus, Neurological Sequelae of

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The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a leading federal funder of research on lupus

​​What is lupus?

Lupus (also known as systemic lupus erythematosus) is a chronic disorder that can affect many organs and systems in the body, including the brain and nerves. In lupus, the immune system that normally protects the body against infections and disease attacks healthy tissue, causing inflammation and other damage. Neurological complications from lupus can include:

  • Headache
  • Mild cognitive dysfunction
  • Damage to the peripheral nerves that carry signals between the brain and spinal cord and to the rest of the body
  • Seizures
  • Personality changes
  • Stroke
  • Dizziness

Lupus can also affect other parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. There is no cure for lupus and treatment is symptomatic, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressive drugs.

Learn About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are studies that allow us to learn more about disorders and improve care. They can help connect patients with new and upcoming treatment options.

How can I or my loved one help improve care for people with lupus?

Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about lupus and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with lupus at

Where can I find more information about lupus?

The following organizations offer resources that help individuals, families, friends, and caregivers of people living with lupus:

Autoimmune Association
Phone: 586-776-3900

Lupus Foundation of America 
Phone: 202-349-1155

Lupus Research Alliance
Phone: 212-218-2840

Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.