High disease activity at baseline does not prevent a remission in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999 Aug;38(8):724-7. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/38.8.724.


Objective: To evaluate the utility of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) initial clinical manifestations and the SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) for identifying patients who will have a remission.

Methods: We studied 100 SLE patients (85 females, 15 males) and identified all patients who had remission (defined as at least one continuous year during which lack of disease activity permitted withdrawal of all treatment to suppress general lupus activity of a particular clinical manifestation). Changes in laboratory parameters without clinical activity, thus not requiring treatment, did not invalidate remission. We did not include any patient who had never required treatment. We evaluated the SLEDAI values and the main SLE manifestations at the time of diagnosis of SLE, and also every 3 months during the first year of disease.

Results: Twenty-four of the 100 SLE patients achieved remission that occurred a mean of 64 months after the diagnosis. They remained in remission for a mean of 55 months. There were no statistical differences in SLEDAI values and the initial manifestations (including renal and cerebral) between patients who reached remission and those who did not. The patients who have a higher SLEDAI score take longer to achieve remission.

Conclusion: SLE patients with severe initial clinical manifestations and higher SLEDAI values may achieve clinical remission.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Remission Induction
  • Severity of Illness Index