How Common is Lupus Remission?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2016
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Partial lupus remission, which is a period in which a person experiences relief from lupus symptoms, is considered common. Unfortunately, partial lupus remission is only temporary, and symptoms eventually return. Total remission, also called prolonged remission, occurs when a person experiences lupus inactivity that lasts for several years at a time or even for the rest of the patient's life. It is extremely rare for lupus patients to experience total remission. More commonly, lupus patients experience shorter periods of lupus remission followed by symptom flare-ups.

It is considered common and normal for a person with lupus to have short-term periods of remission. For example, a person with this condition could spend months feeling better and noticing significant improvement in his symptoms. Unfortunately, however, this period of feeling better doesn’t last indefinitely, and most people have flare-ups too. During times of flare-ups, a person’s symptoms often get worse, and he may feel sick for a significant amount of the time.

Lupus occurs because of the malfunction of a person’s immune system. It develops when the body fails to distinguish between a harmful foreign invader and its own tissues. In such a case, autoantibodies attack these healthy tissues and destroy them, causing the symptoms of lupus. Symptoms may vary but can include fatigue, fever, and weight loss as well as stiff joints, skin lesions, hair loss, and pain.


Fortunately, lupus is a treatable condition, and those who suffer from it are usually able to lead normal lives. This does not mean, however, that it’s not a serious condition. Most people with lupus must take good care of their overall health to minimize symptoms.

An individual in a period of lupus remission may suddenly have a flare-up of symptoms. There are many triggers that seem to stimulate flare-ups. For example, some people experience flare-ups after significant exposure to sunlight, after they are ill with another condition, and during times of stress. Often, pregnant women experience flare-ups as well.

Flare-ups can be particularly disheartening, especially since there is no way for patients to know how long they will last. Doctors cannot predict how long a person will feel ill or suffer from significant symptoms. The same goes for remission. There is no way for doctors to tell how long periods of remission will last before flare-ups occur once more. In some cases, patients eagerly look forward to their next period of remission but end up waiting for years.


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Post 4

I have been in remission for five years, but I have had a lot of symptoms, not as bad as before but still not totally well. There have been no test results showing Lupus activity but still I am not well a lot of days. So I don't believe there is a total remission for anyone. Sorry!

Post 3

@burcidi-- I don't think we should be so hopeless about lupus remission. I had a doctor tell me that mine would never go into remission, but it did and for four years!

It's not impossible and I believe that for all disorders, and especially for lupus syndrome, it's important to remain hopeful and positive because stress and worrying is detrimental to the immune system. I always believed that mine would go into remission and it did and I know it will again.

Post 2

@alisha-- I asked my doctor this and he said that lupus remission is when I have no flare-ups for six months or more. But I'm not sure if this means no flare-ups with medications or without. Some doctors say that it's only remission if the patient is symptom-free without medications. Other doctors keep their patients on the medications in what they call remission.

Right now, I don't think you are in remission. If you still have no symptoms five months from now, you might be in remission. I hope that you are in remission and that you will stay in it for a long time.

I've been waiting for remission for fifteen years, it still hasn't happened. If

I'm lucky enough to go into remission one day though, I don't think I'm going to let myself get too excited because another flare-up will be a huge disappointment. Diseases caused by viruses and bacteria go into remission often, but autoimmune diseases like lupus rarely do. And when it happens, it doesn't last long unfortunately.
Post 1

I haven't had any lupus symptoms for the past one month but I am still on my medications. Does this mean that I'm in remission? How long should someone be symptom-free to be considered having lupus in remission?

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