New Study Finds Glucocorticoid Use Contributes to Organ Damage in People with Lupus
Glucocorticoid use was found to contribute to damage accrual in people with systemic lupus erythematosus independently of the presence of clinical signs or serological disease activity. In a cohort of 1,707 people with lupus, 255 people exhibited damage accrual events when administered the steroid and 21 of these individuals saw irreversible organ (kidney) damage. Glucocorticoids (man-made steroids) are used to treat active disease in lupus.
Researchers studied the group for a two-year period, analyzing individuals without measurable disease activity. Their disease activity was measured using the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index 2000 (SLEDAI-2K) and Physician Global Assessment scores. Organ damage was measured annually according to the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics Damage Index (SDI). During the study, 276 damage accrual events were recorded in 255 (14.9%) patients who received oral glucocorticoids. Among the people who did not receive the steroid, 31 exhibited damage accrual events.
Glucocorticoid use and disease activity are closely linked in lupus; in the absence of safer or more effective medicines, glucocorticoids are prescribed for patients with active disease for their powerful immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory properties. It's important to consult your doctor before changing your medication plan. Learn about medications used to treat lupus.