The Asia-Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology consensus statements on the management of systemic lupus erythematosus

Chi Chiu Mok, Laniyati Hamijoyo, Nuntana Kasitanon, Der Yuan Chen, Sheng Chen, Kunihiro Yamaoka, Kenji Oku, Meng Tao Li, Leonid Zamora, Sang-Cheol Bae, Sandra Navarra, Eric F. Morand, Yoshiya Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is prevalent in Asia and carries a variable prognosis among patients across the Asia-Pacific region, which could relate to access to health care, tolerability of medications, and adherence to therapies. Because many aspects of SLE are unique among patients from this region, the Asia-Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology developed the first set of consensus recommendations on the management of SLE. A core panel of 13 rheumatologists drafted a set of statements through face-to-face meeting and teleconferences. A literature review was done for each statement to grade the quality of evidence and strength of recommendation. 29 independent specialists and three patients with SLE were then recruited for a modified Delphi process to establish consensus on the statements through an online voting platform. A total of 34 consensus recommendations were developed. Panellists agreed that patients with SLE should be referred to a specialist for the formulation of a treatment plan through shared decision making between patients and physicians. Remission was agreed to be the goal of therapy, but when it cannot be achieved, a low disease activity state should be aimed for. Patients should be screened for renal disease, and hydroxychloroquine is recommended for all Asian people with SLE. Major organ manifestations of SLE should be treated with induction immunosuppression and subsequently maintenance; options include cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate mofetil, azathioprine, and calcineurin inhibitors, in combination with glucocorticoids. Biologics, combination regimens, plasma exchange, and intravenous immunoglobulins should be reserved for cases of refractory or life-threatening disease. Anticoagulation therapy with warfarin is preferred to the direct oral anticoagulants for thromboembolic SLE manifestations associated with a high-risk antiphospholipid antibody profile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e517-e531
Number of pages15
JournalThe Lancet Rheumatology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Cite this