Catch up on the Latest Facebook Chat with S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and Hospital for Special Surgery

Did you miss our latest Facebook Chat with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) that took place on November 6th?  Don’t worry – we’ll catch you up!

The live chat, titled “Lupus and General Health,” addressed a wide range of topics ranging from cold weather and joint pain to prescription assistance.  Professionals from HSS and the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation emphasized the importance of keeping close contact with your physician or rheumatologist, as every case of lupus is different.

Picture six people in a room typing as fast as they can to answer as many questions as they possibly can in one hour:

Jessica Rowshandel, M.S.W.    S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Director of Social Services
Doruk Erkan, MD        HSS Rheumatologist
Joanna Harp, MD        HSS Dermatologist
Jane Salmon, MD        HSS Rheumatologist
Lisa Sammaritano, MD        HSS Rheumatologist
Erica Sandoval, M.S.W.        HSS Social Worker

Here are some of the highlights of what was a great discussion:

How safe is it to have a baby with lupus?
Dr. Sammaritano says, “There are certain issues to keep in mind: pregnancy should be planned for a time when disease has been quiet for 6 months and when you are on medications that are considered safe for pregnancy. Your rheumatologist and obstetrician will work with you as a team to optimize your pregnancy outcome.”
Is there a link between cold weather and increase in joint pain?

Dr. Salmon says, “Many patients note that their joint pain is worse in cold weather. Changing seasons also may increase pain...but we don't understand why. Changes in hormones may influence immunologic function. Again, we can neither anticipate nor prevent these changes in lupus disease activity.”

Is there a way that I can receive assistance for my prescriptions?
Ms. Rowshandel says, “There is a list of prescription assistance programs at You can also try calling the prescription company directly and see if they can help you. Sometimes your doctor can do this, as well.”

Ms. Sandoval says, “It is difficult to be without insurance and needing to fill scripts for medications. There are some programs you can look into that can help with this. can help accessing affordable medication.”

Do hives and angioedema have any association with lupus?
Dr. Harp says, “Hives and angioedema can be related to low complement, which can be seen in active lupus. Often treatments for lupus can help hives and angioedema but sometimes you need additional medications (antihistamines, etc), so you should see a dermatologist.”

Does being on a blood thinner lessen the chance of diagnosis through lab work?
Dr. Erkan says, “Blood thinners will not interfere with the lupus or Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) tests except one: Lupus anticoagulant test (one of the APS tests).  It can be false positive or false negative in patients who receive blood thinners.”

It is essential to stay informed about lupus and your general health.  For more information about topics discussed in the live chat, visit S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Facebook Page and our website

We are so pleased to collaborate with HSS on these Facebook chats – our patients have the benefit of the combined resources and talent of two organizations committed to the lupus community.  And more patients are benefiting.  An analysis presented at this year’s American College of Rheumatology annual meeting showed that since HSS invited us to co-host the Chats, participation has increased by 200 percent.  We will keep you posted on the date of our next Chat – you won’t want to miss it.