Management of lupus erythematosus: recent insights

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2002 May;14(3):212-9. doi: 10.1097/00002281-200205000-00003.


This article reviews and cites only publications relating to the management of lupus that have appeared since 1999. The data in these publications demonstrate that preventive and proactive strategies are as important as medication in improving the quality of life and life span of the patient with lupus. The use of lasers and thalidomide represents major advances in cutaneous lupus. The first major study over 25 years using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to manage lupus suggests benefits. Further evidence was presented showing that dehydroepiandrosterone, leflunomide, and methotrexate are effective in treating mild to moderate disease. Various iterations and modifications of traditional cyclophosphamide therapy with or without mycophenolate mofetil, cyclosporine, and azathioprine continue to be studied for treating organ-threatening disease. Intravenous gamma globulin and selective apheresis are niche therapies appropriate in a few, highly selected patients. Immunoablative doses of cyclophosphamide appear to be as effective as stem cell transplantation for serious disease resistant to conventional doses of cyclophosphamide. Twelve biologic agents have been studied in lupus since 1999, with only LJP-394 showing clear-cut, convincing efficacy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / prevention & control
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy*
  • Rheumatology / trends


  • Hormones
  • Immunosuppressive Agents