Background Often, patients present with clinical symptoms and immunologic abnormalities suggestive of systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE), while not meeting classification criteria yet. This is referred to as incomplete SLE(iSLE). Timely treatment, however, is important to limit disease progression, and prevent organ damage and mortality. The aim of the study was to evaluate the therapy administered to patients diagnosed with iSLE.
Methods iSLE(n=60) was defined by rheumatologists as clinical diagnosis, not fulfilling ACR or SLICCcriteria and had no classification or specific symptoms of other rheumatic diseases. The majority of the iSLE patients were female (97%), aged 38[26–47]years. The median age of iSLE diagnosis was 33[25–42]years, disease duration was 12[2–39]months, 12(20%)pts had a disease duration of ≥5 years. The median SLEDAI-2K was 2[1–5] score, SDI – 0[0–0] score.
Results A large proportion of iSLE patients (55%) were prescribed hydroxychloroquine at a dose of 200 mg/day and oral corticosteroids (42%), the maximum dose of prednisolone was 15[6–40]mg/day. Five (8%) patients with iSLE were taking immunosuppressants: sulfasalazine-2(4%), methotrexate-1(2%), azathioprine-1(2%), and cyclophosphamide -1(2%). Six (10%) iSLE patients were taking biology: rituximab -1(2%), IL-6 inhibitor – 1(2%), intravenous human immunoglobulin – 4(7%). Other medicines: NSAIDs – 28%, vitamin D – 27%, course of antibiotics – 18%, low dose aspirin – 17%, anticoagulants – 10%, antipsychotics – 5%, eltrombopag and antihistamines – 2% each of patients.
Conclusions Although iSLE is sometimes considered a mild form of lupus, the clinical manifestations of iSLE can be significant. This may explain why many iSLE patients are treated with immunomodulatory medications.
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