Lupus Flare Symptoms Associated with Worsened Outcomes and Increased Costs
New study findings powerfully demonstrate the many ways in which lupus flare symptoms impact people living with the disease. Based on reports from more than 1,500 survey respondents with lupus, more frequent flares are associated with worsened patient outcomes as measured by increased hospitalizations, visits to the emergency department/urgent care, work productivity loss, and reduced ability to carry out nonwork activities.
Compared to people who did not report any flares, those who reported flare activities had 1.72-3.13 times higher rates of hospitalizations and roughly 7-16 times more unplanned emergency department or urgent care visits, depending on flare frequency. Among employed survey respondents, more frequent flares led to more missed time due to health problems, greater impairment while working due to health problems, and overall work impairment due to health problems (“work productivity loss”). Average work productivity losses were 12%-32% higher among people who reported flare activities compared to those who reported no flares. Nonwork activities were similarly affected across all survey respondents.
This study underscores the significant toll increased disease activity takes on people living with lupus, as well as their families and caregivers, and patient-reported lupus flare frequency may be an important indicator of disease severity and burden. It also points to the importance of measuring patient-reported outcomes and patient-centered research. Current scales used to measure flare frequency do not consider feedback from the patient.
The latest findings come from survey data collected by the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) with grant funding support by Mallinckrodt, a global specialty pharmaceutical company. Learn more about the LFA’s work in research.