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The Cost of Living With Lupus

So many things add up to the cost of living with lupus. Let’s look at some of them. Then, if you’d like to find ways to tackle some of these expenses, read Find Financial Help.

Understanding all the ways lupus costs me may be my first step to taking control.


Prescription medicines: As you know, some prescription medications can be expensive. And with lupus, you may need to take many different ones, such as anti-inflammatories, antimalarials, or immunosuppressants. Fortunately, some of the medications you take may be available as generics.generics: medications created to work the same as brand-name medicines.


Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and supplements: It may be easy to overlook the products you buy at the drugstore, but the cost of OTC medicines also can be a burden. Examples include pain relievers, allergy medications, heartburn reducers, and topical pain-relieving ointments.

Scheduled doctor’s appointments

Managing life with a chronic illness means seeing your healthcare providers regularly. The costs for a visit to the doctor’s office will vary. You may find yourself having to pay:

  • Insurance deductible
  • Co-pay
  • Lab tests, such as blood tests or screenings

You may also have to pay to get to and from your visits.


As someone living with lupus, you probably see many types of doctors and specialists,specialists: healthcare providers with additional training or certificates related to certain diseases or conditions. such as a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in the musculoskeletal system and autoimmune conditions. Depending on what part of the body is being affected by lupus, you may have an even bigger healthcare team, made up of nephrologists (kidneys), dermatologists (skin), gastroenterologists (digestive system), hematologists (blood), or neurologists (brain and nerves).


If you’re referred to a specialist, follow through with the appointment. Even though it may cost more than seeing other healthcare providers, their expertise can be worth the extra cost!

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Urgent appointments

When you need urgent care, the costs for emergency room visits or hospital time can be high. These visits are typically unpredictable and unexpected.


Up to 25% of people living with SLE may be hospitalized each year. Consider that a hospital stay could be costly and mean time away from work—and you see that this can be a huge hit to your wallet.

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Missed days from work

According to a 2015 study, people living with lupus missed work due to symptoms such as pain and fatigue. This was especially true for lupus patients who held very physically and cognitively demanding jobs. While missing a day here or there may not seem like a big deal, over time, it can add up.

Learn more about finances & lupus.

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The Cost of Living With Lupus

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Find Financial Help

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Navigate Insurance