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Lupus. 2010 Aug;19(9):1125-36. doi: 10.1177/0961203310370345.

Treatment of cutaneous lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.


In patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) and mild skin involvement, local therapy consisting of topically applied pharmacological agents, e.g., topical/intralesional steroids, may be sufficient. Recent reports have also shown efficacy of topical calcineurin inhibitors in patients with CLE, particularly on the face. Special attention receives consistent sun protection through photoresistant clothing and application of light-shielding substances with highly potent chemical or physical UVA- and UVB-protective filters. These substances should be applied in sufficient amount (ca. 2 mg/cm(2)) at least 20-30 minutes before sun exposure in order to avoid induction and exacerbation of cutaneous lesions. The mainstay of treatment for disfiguring and widespread skin manifestations in patients with CLE, irrespective of the subtype of the disease, is antimalarial agents. Our understanding of the use of combinations of antimalarials and proper dosing according to the ideal bodyweight limits problems with toxicity. Further therapies, such as methotrexate, or retinoids, dapsone, mycophenolate mofetil, and thalidomide in selected cases, can be helpful for patients with resistant disease; however, side effects need to be taken into consideration. Recent advances in biotechnology resulted in the development of novel systemic agents, but randomized controlled trials are necessary for the approval of new therapeutic strategies in CLE.

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