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Challenges for lupus management in emerging countries

Zoubida Tazi Mezalek, Wafaa Bono
La Presse Médicale 2014, 43 (6 Pt 2): e209-20
24857588
In emerging countries, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has been associated with several unfavorable outcomes including disease activity, damage accrual, work disability and mortality. Poor socioeconomic status (SES) and lack of access to healthcare, especially in medically underserved communities, may be responsible for many of the observed disparities. Diagnostic delay of SLE or for severe organ damages (renal involvement) have a negative impact on those adverse outcomes in lupus patients who either belong to minority groups or live in emerging countries. Longitudinal and observational prospective studies and registries may help to identify the factors that influence poor SLE outcomes in emerging countries. Infection is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in SLE, particularly in low SES patients and tuberculosis appears to be frequent in SLE patients living in endemic areas (mainly emerging countries). Thus, tuberculosis screening should be systematically performed and prophylaxis discussed for patients from these areas. SLE treatment in the developing world is restricted by the availability and cost of some immunosuppressive drugs. Moreover, poor adherence has been associated to bad outcomes in lupus patients with a higher risk of flares, morbidity, hospitalization, and poor renal prognosis. Low education and the lack of money are identified as the main barrier to improve lupus prognosis. Newer therapeutic agents and new protocols had contributed to improve survival in SLE. The use of corticoid-sparing agents (hydroxychloroquine, methotrexate, azathioprine and mycophenolate mofetif) is one of the most useful strategy; availability of inexpensive generics may help to optimize access to these medications.

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