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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2016 Jul;68(7):981-7. doi: 10.1002/acr.22774.

Analysis of Complete Remission in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients Over a 32-Year Period.

Author information

1
Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain.
2
Complejo Hospitalario Universitario A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain.
3
Hospital Universitario de Basurto, Bilbao, Spain.
4
University College London, London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by an unpredictable and fluctuating course. Although various methods have been developed to measure disease activity, there is still a lack of consensus about the optimal criteria for SLE remission. The principal aim of our study was to identify the number of lupus patients achieving a complete remission (implying that for 3 years there were no clinical or serologic features and no treatment with steroids and immunosuppressive drugs) in a single cohort of patients followed for a period of up to 32 years. In addition, we have identified patients in clinical but not serologic remission (known as serologically active, clinically quiescent disease [SACQ]) and vice versa. We were particularly interested to determine the factors associated with complete remission.

METHODS:

Eligible patients were followed up in the University College Hospital Lupus cohort from January 1978 until December 2010 for a period of at least 3 years. Complete remission was defined as a period of at least 3 years with clinical inactivity (British Isles Lupus Assessment Group scores of C, D, or E only) and laboratory remission (no antibodies to double-stranded DNA and normal complement C3 levels), and being off-treatment with corticosteroids and immunosuppressants. Antimalarial and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs were allowed.

RESULTS:

Of 624 lupus patients at our hospital, a total of 532 patients met the strict inclusion criteria for the study. Of these 532 patients, 77 patients (14.5%) achieved complete remission for at least 3 years, and 23 (4.3%) achieved complete remission for a minimum period of 10 years. Ten of these 77 patients were subsequently lost to followup, and, interestingly, flares occurred subsequently in 15 of the 67 remaining patients (22.4%). Three patients relapsed after the tenth year of remission. Forty-five patients (8.5%) fulfilled the requirement for SACQ, and 66 patients (12.4%) achieved only serologic remission.

CONCLUSION:

Our study indicated that 14.5% of lupus patients achieved a complete remission for 3 years. However, flares may continue to occur beyond 10 years of remission. Long-term followup of SLE is therefore mandatory.

PMID:
26554745
DOI:
10.1002/acr.22774
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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