Clinical update

Systemic lupus erythematosus

The latest medication recommendations for systemic lupus erythematosus

Essential facts Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a rare, chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in various parts of the body. Its annual incidence is estimated at one in 20,000. Although there is no cure, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help to control the symptoms, preventing damage to vital organs. In addition, there are other types of lupus that affect the skin, including discoid lupus erythematosus and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus.

Picture credit: SPL

What’s new? On World Lupus Day, 10 May, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended belimumab (Benlysta) for adult patients with SLE, whose active disease has not been controlled by medication. This is the first new licensed drug for this condition in more than 50 years and works by targeting immune cells that make lupus active.

Signs and symptoms SLE strikes without warning, with a wide range


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