Systemic lupus erythematosus: an update on current pharmacotherapy and future directions

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2013 May;13(5):723-37. doi: 10.1517/14712598.2013.764411. Epub 2013 Jan 23.


Introduction: In the last decade, the development of a number of potential drugs for lupus that target the pathogenesis of the disease at different levels has been witnessed. Despite a number of negative trials during this period, belimumab was recently approved for the treatment of adult seropositive lupus patients with mild-to-moderate disease activity.

Areas covered: This review summarizes the results of the most recent drug trials in lupus and highlights the aspects that require further refinement and modification in order to facilitate positive results in new drug trials for lupus.

Expert opinion: The success of a clinical trial depends on the efficacy of the study drug and its appropriate dosing. Several other factors play a major role in the success of trials, including the patient inclusion criteria, the choice of evidence-based study outcomes and endpoints and other aspects of study design that are described in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / pathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / psychology
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life
  • Rituximab
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • epratuzumab
  • Rituximab
  • belimumab
  • Abatacept
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • toralizumab