Common triggers for lupus

Lupus Foundation of America

Resource Content

While a person’s genes may increase the chance that he or she will develop lupus, it takes some kind of environmental trigger to set off the illness or to bring on a flare. 

The following are common environmental triggers:
  • Ultraviolet rays from the sun or from fluorescent light bulbs
  • Sulfa drugs, which make a person more sensitive to the sun, such as: Bactrim® and Septra® (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole); sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin®); tolbutamide (Orinase®); sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®); diuretics
  • Sun-sensitizing tetracycline drugs such as minocycline (Minocin®)
  • Penicillin or other antibiotic drugs such as: amoxicillin (Amoxil®); ampicillin (Ampicillin Sodium ADD-Vantage®); cloxacillin (Cloxapen®)
  • An infection, a cold or a viral illness
  • An injury, particularly traumatic injury
  • Emotional stress, such as a divorce, illness, death in the family, or other life complications
  • Anything that causes stress to the body, such as surgery, physical harm, pregnancy, or giving birth
  • Exhaustion

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