How is central nervous system vasculitis treated?

CNS vasculitis is usually treated with steroids. High-dose steroids such as prednisone, in combination with cyclophosphamide (a medication that decreases the immune system's response to autoimmune diseases), are generally used. In some cases, high-dose steroids alone are tried first; if that does not treat the disease, cyclophosphamide is added. Treatment must be continued for a prolonged period, sometimes for life.

If the patient has another illness (such as lupus) that is related to the vasculitis, then that illness also needs to be treated.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/07/2016.


  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What is vasculitis? Accessed 3/9/2016.
  • Hajj-Ali RA, Singhal A, Benseler S, Molloy E, Calabrese LH. Update on Primary Angiitis of the Central Nervous System. Lancet Neurol 2011 Jun;10(6):561-72.

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