Background Patient-reported outcomes in lupus nephritis (LN) are not well studied. Studies with disease-targeted PRO tool in LN do not exist. Herein, we describe quality of life (QOL: HRQOL & non-HRQOL) among LN patients using LupusPRO. Methods International, cross-sectional data from 1259 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and LupusPRO were compared, stratified by (a) presence of LN (ACR classification criteria (ACR-LN)) at any time and, (b) active LN (on SLEDAI) at study visit. Damage was assessed by SLICC/ACR-SDI. Multivariate regression analyses for QOL against ACR-LN (active LN) after adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity and country of recruitment were performed. Results Mean (SD) age was 41.7 (13.5) yrs, 93% were women. Five hundred and thirty-nine of 1259 SLE patients had ACR-LN. ACR-LN group was younger, were more often on immunosuppressive medications, had worse QOL on lupus medications and procreation than non-ACR-LN patients. HRQOL and non-HRQOL scores were similar in both groups. One hundred and twenty-nine of 539 ACR-LN patients had active LN. Active LN group was younger, had greater disease activity and had worse HRQOL and non-HRQOL compared to patients without active LN. Specific domains adversely affected were lupus symptoms, lupus medications, procreation, emotional health, body image and desires-goals domains. Patients with ACR-LN and active LN fared significantly worse in lupus medications and procreation HRQOL domains, even after adjusting for age, ethnicity, gender and country of recruitment. Conclusions Lupus nephritis patients have poor QOL. Patients with active LN have worse HRQOL and non-HRQOL. Most domains affected are not included in the generic QOL tools used in SLE. LN patients must receive discussion on lupus medications and procreation issues. Patients with active LN need comprehensive assessments and addressal of QOL, along with treatment for active LN.
Keywords: LupusPRO; Systemic lupus erythematosus; lupus nephritis; quality of life.