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Lupus low disease activity state is associated with a decrease in damage progression in Caucasian patients with SLE, but overlaps with remission
  1. Margherita Zen,
  2. Luca Iaccarino,
  3. Mariele Gatto,
  4. Francesca Saccon,
  5. Maddalena Larosa,
  6. Anna Ghirardello,
  7. Leonardo Punzi,
  8. Andrea Doria
  1. Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Division of Rheumatology, Padova, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Andrea Doria, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine,University of Padova, Padova 35128, Italy; adoria{at}


Objective 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.

  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • outcomes research
  • disease activity

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  • Handling editor Tore K Kvien

  • Contributors MZ contributed to the conception and design of the work, the follow-up of patients, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, and she drafted the work; LI followed up patients and gave his contribution in revising the work; MG followed up patients and helped in drafting the work; FS contributed to the acquisition of data; ML followed up patients; AG helped in the analysis of data; LP critically revised the final work; AD led the team who followed up patients, designed the work, interpreted the data, and drafted and revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. All the authors approved the final version of the manuscript and gave their agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The Ethics Committee of the ’Azienda Ospedaliera-Università degli Studi di Padova', Padova, Italy.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.