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Comparison of Attainment and Protective Effects of Lupus Low Disease Activity State In Patients With Newly Diagnosed Versus Established Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether Lupus Low Disease Activity State (LLDAS) attainment is associated with favorable outcomes in patients with recent onset systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

METHODS: Data from a 13-country longitudinal SLE cohort were collected prospectively between 2013 and 2020. An inception cohort was defined based on disease duration < 1 year at enrollment. Patient characteristics between inception and noninception cohorts were compared. Survival analyses were performed to examine the association between LLDAS attainment and damage accrual and flare.

RESULTS: Of the total 4106 patients, 680 (16.6%) were recruited within 1 year of SLE diagnosis (inception cohort). Compared to the noninception cohort, inception cohort patients were significantly younger, had higher disease activity, and used more glucocorticoids, but had less organ damage at enrollment. Significantly fewer inception cohort patients were in LLDAS at enrollment than the noninception cohort (29.6% vs 52.3%, P < 0.001), but three-quarters of both groups achieved LLDAS at least once during follow-up. Limiting analysis only to patients not in LLDAS at enrollment, inception cohort patients were 60% more likely to attain LLDAS (hazard ratio 1.37, 95% CI 1.16-1.61, P < 0.001) than noninception cohort patients and attained LLDAS significantly faster. LLDAS attainment was significantly protective against flare in both the inception and noninception cohorts. A total of 88 (13.6%) inception cohort patients accrued organ damage during a median 2.2 years of follow-up.

CONCLUSION: LLDAS attainment is protective from flare in recent onset SLE. Significant protection from damage accrual was not observed because of low rates of damage accrual in the first years after SLE diagnosis. ( NCT03138941).

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