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Nat Clin Pract Rheumatol. 2005 Dec;1(2):82-92.

The management of pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Most children and adolescents with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) now survive into adulthood, leading the pediatric rheumatology community to focus on preventing long-term complications of SLE, including atherosclerosis, obesity, and osteoporosis, and their treatment. Unfortunately, because of the paucity of data in pediatric SLE, little is known about epidemiology, long-term outcome, and optimal treatment. Most research focuses on adults with SLE, but pediatric SLE differs significantly from adult SLE in many aspects, including disease expression, approaches to pharmacologic intervention, management of treatment toxicity, and psychosocial issues. Children and adolescents with SLE require specialized, multidisciplinary care. Treatment can be optimized by early recognition of disease flares and complications, minimizing medication toxicity, educating families about prevention, promoting school performance, addressing concerns about reproductive health, and negotiating the transition to adult-centered medical care. Developmentally appropriate concerns about pain, appearance, and peers often affect treatment adherence and must be addressed by the health-care team. Research in pediatric SLE is desperately needed and provides a unique opportunity to understand how developmental immunology and the hormonal changes associated with puberty affect the pathophysiology of SLE.

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