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Seizures in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: data from LUMINA, a multiethnic cohort (LUMINA LIV)
  1. R M Andrade1,
  2. G S Alarcón1,
  3. L A González1,
  4. M Fernández1,
  5. M Apte1,
  6. L M Vilá2,
  7. G McGwin Jr1,
  8. J D Reveille3,
  9. for the LUMINA Study Group
  1. 1
    Departments of Medicine (Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology), Surgery (Section of Trauma, Burns and Critical Care) and Epidemiology, Schools of Medicine and Public Health, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
  2. 2
    The University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, Department of Internal Medicine (Division of Rheumatology), San Juan, Puerto Rico
  3. 3
    Department of Medicine (Division of Rheumatology), the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Graciela S Alarcón, MD, MPH, 830 Faculty Office Tower, 510 20th Street South, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-3408, USA; graciela.alarcon{at}


Objective: To examine the predictors of time-to-seizure occurrence and their impact on damage accrual and mortality in LUMINA, a multiethnic (Hispanic, African American and Caucasian) cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Methods: Seizures were defined as per the American College of Rheumatology (ARC) nomenclature and case definitions for neuropsychiatric lupus syndromes. Factors associated with time-to-seizure occurrence occurring at or after diagnosis (TD) of systemic lupus erythematosus were examined by univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression analyses. The impact of seizures on damage accrual and mortality was also examined by multivariable analyses after adjusting for variables known to affect these outcomes.

Results: A total of 600 patients were included in these analyses. Of them, 40 (6.7%) developed seizures at or after TD; by multivariable analyses, disease activity and younger age were independent predictors of a shorter time-to-seizure occurrence (HR = 1.10 and 1.04; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.15 and 1.00 to 1.08, p = 0.0004 and 0.0304, respectively) whereas mucocutaneous involvement (HR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.41, p = 0.0039) and hydroxychloroquine use (HR = 0.35, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.80, p = 0.0131) were independent predictors of a longer time-to-seizure occurrence. Seizures were an independent contributor to damage accrual but not to mortality.

Conclusions: Seizures tend to occur early in the course of systemic lupus erythematosus, and contribute to damage accrual. Younger age and disease activity are independent predictors of a shorter time-to-seizure occurrence; antimalarials appear to have a protective role in seizure occurrence.

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  • Funding: Supported by grants from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases R01-AR42503 and P01 AR49084, General Clinical Research Centers M01-RR02558 (UTH) and M01-RR00032 (UAB) and from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR/NIH) RCMI Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative (RCRII) 1P20RR11126 (UPR); and fellowships from Rheuminations, Inc. and the STELLAR (Supporting Training Efforts in Lupus for Latino American Rheumatologists) program funded by Rheuminations, Inc. (UAB).

  • Competing interests: None.