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Overview of the management and prognosis of systemic lupus erythematosus in adults

Author
Daniel J Wallace, MD
Section Editors
David S Pisetsky, MD, PhD
Peter H Schur, MD
Deputy Editor
Monica Ramirez Curtis, MD, MPH

INTRODUCTION

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, occasionally life-threatening, multisystem disorder. Patients may present with a wide array of symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings and have a variable prognosis that depends upon the disease severity and type of organ involvement. Establishing the diagnosis of SLE may be challenging, and the approach to the diagnosis and differential diagnosis of SLE is presented separately. (See "Diagnosis and differential diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus in adults".)

Due to the variable disease course, effective management of SLE requires regular clinical monitoring to assess disease activity, alleviate symptoms, prevent and treat relapses, monitor side effects related to drug therapy, encourage adherence with medications, and coordinate care with the patient’s other providers.

This topic will review the general issues related to the management of patients with SLE. The treatment of specific organ involvement is discussed in separate topic reviews. (See appropriate topic reviews.)

OVERVIEW OF TREATMENT

The goals of therapy for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are to ensure long-term survival, achieve the lowest possible disease activity, prevent organ damage, minimize drug toxicity, improve quality of life, and educate patients about their role in disease management [1,2].

Treatment of SLE is individualized based upon patient preferences [3], clinical manifestations, disease activity and severity, and comorbidities. Patients require monitoring at regular intervals by a rheumatologist to optimize both nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies, and achieve treatment goals. Patients often have multiorgan system involvement and may require multidisciplinary care.

                                    

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Fri Dec 18 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2015.
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