A patient whose lupus is in remission or who is experiencing low disease activity faces less risk of experiencing additional damage or dying from their condition, an international study reports.
Researchers said doctors should keep the findings in mind when treating patients. Trying to help patients achieve remission or low disease activity will improve their chance of experiencing less damage from their disease or dying, the team said.
The study, which appeared in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, is titled “Remission and Low Disease Activity Status (LDAS) protect lupus patients from damage occurrence: data from a multiethnic, multinational Latin American Lupus Cohort (GLADEL).”
Researchers from Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, the United States and Spain took part in the study. It was led by Dr. Manuel Francisco Ugarte-Gil, a rheumatologist at the Hospital Guillermo Almenara Irigoyen in Lima, Peru.
The team wanted to see if there were a connection between remission or low disease activity on the one hand and less damage and lower patient death rates on the other hand. They included measures of low disease activity in their study because few patients achieve remission.
Researchers recruited 1,350 patients from a multinational database of lupus patients. The repository, known as the Grupo Latino Americano De Estudio de Lupus, contains the records of people treated at 34 centers in nine Latin American countries. The repository was started in 1997.
The three categories of damage and patient deaths that researchers used were new damage, severe new damage, and mortality.
Researchers measured patients’ disease activity twice a year. They found new damage in 606 patients and severe new damage in 177. Seventy-nine patients died during the study.
Their analysis showed that remission reduced the risk of a patient experiencing new or severe new damage and low disease activity lowered the risk that a patient would experience new damage.
Researchers found no correlation between remission and reduced disease activity on the one hand and less risk of a patient dying on the other hand.
Overall, the results “emphasize the importance of achieving remission or LDAS [low disease activity status] in the prognosis of patients with SLE [lupus],” the team wrote. “These data support the use of these outcomes as targets in the treatment of patients with SLE.”
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