JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Update οn the diagnosis and management of systemic lupus erythematosus

Antonis Fanouriakis, Nikolaos Tziolos, George Bertsias, Dimitrios T Boumpas
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2020 October 13
33051219
Clinical heterogeneity, unpredictable course and flares are characteristics of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Although SLE is-by and large-a systemic disease, occasionally it can be organ-dominant, posing diagnostic challenges. To date, diagnosis of SLE remains clinical with a few cases being negative for serologic tests. Diagnostic criteria are not available and classification criteria are often used for diagnosis, yet with significant caveats. Newer sets of criteria (European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR)/American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2019) enable earlier and more accurate classification of SLE. Several disease endotypes have been recognised over the years. There is increased recognition of milder cases at presentation, but almost half of them progress overtime to more severe disease. Approximately 70% of patients follow a relapsing-remitting course, the remaining divided equally between a prolonged remission and a persistently active disease. Treatment goals include long-term patient survival, prevention of flares and organ damage, and optimisation of health-related quality of life. For organ-threatening or life-threatening SLE, treatment usually includes an initial period of high-intensity immunosuppressive therapy to control disease activity, followed by a longer period of less intensive therapy to consolidate response and prevent relapses. Management of disease-related and treatment-related comorbidities, especially infections and atherosclerosis, is of paramount importance. New disease-modifying conventional and biologic agents-used alone, in combination or sequentially-have improved rates of achieving both short-term and long-term treatment goals, including minimisation of glucocorticoid use.

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