To evaluate the prevalence, duration and effect on damage accrual of the ‘Lupus Low Disease Activity State’ (LLDAS) in a monocentric cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).Methods
We studied 293 Caucasian patients with SLE during a 7-year follow-up period. Disease activity was assessed by SLE Disease Activity Index 2000 (SLEDAI-2K) and SELENA-SLEDAI physician global assessment (PGA), and damage by Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index (SDI). We considered the following definition of LLDAS: SLEDAI-2K ≤4 without major organ activity, no new disease activity, PGA (0–3)≤1, prednisone ≤7.5 mg/day and well-tolerated immunosuppressant dosages. The effect of LLDAS on SDI was evaluated by multivariate regression analysis. We also evaluated remission defined as clinical SLEDAI-2K=0 and prednisone ≤5 mg/day in patients treated with/without stable immunosuppressants and/or antimalarials.Results
LLDAS lasting 1, 2, 3, 4 or ≥5 consecutive years was achieved by 33 (11.3%), 43 (14.7%), 39 (13.3%), 31 (10.6%) and 109 (37.2%) patients, respectively. Patients who spent at least two consecutive years in LLDAS had significantly less damage accrual compared with patients never in LLDAS (p=0.001), and they were significantly less likely to have an increase in SDI (OR 0.160, 95% CI 0.060 to 0.426, p<0.001). On average, 84% of patients in LLDAS also fulfilled the criteria for remission.Conclusions
LLDAS was associated with a decrease in damage progression in Caucasian patients with SLE. The majority of patients in LLDAS were in remission, which can largely contribute to the protective effect of LLDAS on damage accrual.