Treat to target and shared decision-making in systemic lupus erythematosus from the patients' perspective: results from an international patient survey

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2024 Apr 29. doi: 10.55563/clinexprheumatol/jp828o. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Treat-to-target (T2T) is being recognised as a promising concept to significantly improve the outcomes of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Despite its success being closely tied to patients' involvement, the patients' perspective regarding T2T has not been evaluated. We aimed to investigate patients' attitude towards T2T and their involvement in treatment decisions.

Methods: We designed a 13-question online survey on T2T, examining acceptance, willingness to participate in T2T trials, and potential obstacles. This was distributed amongst Dutch, Austrian, German, and Bulgarian patient organisations.

Results: In total, 863 patients participated of whom 48.4% reported being in remission, while 13% were uncertain about their remission status. Regarding shared decision-making, 62.1% reported being somewhat fully involved in treatment decisions, while 20.7% felt uninvolved. Shared decision-making was associated with disease duration, Dutch origin and satisfaction with treatment and remission. As for satisfaction with their health status, 56.2% were somewhat fully satisfied, while 29.3% were unsatisfied. 65.5% were satisfied with their treatment, 14.8% were not. Leading treatment goals were quality of life (QoL) normalisation (37.4%), organ damage prevention (24.6%) and absence of disease activity (22.6%). T2T was mainly seen positive with additional doctors' visits and initiation of new immunosuppressive drugs as potential disadvantages.

Conclusions: T2T was perceived as beneficial with improvement of QoL as the most important treatment goal and the possibility of additional doctors' visits and initiation of new immunosuppressive agents as potential drawbacks. Patients unsatisfied with their health status and treatment may benefit from greater involvement in treatment decisions.