Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol 2013 Jun;27(3):363-75
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Objective: This chapter aims to evaluate current knowledge of the burden of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) on individual patients, with a particular focus on health-related quality of life (HRQoL), activities of daily living (ADLs), individual symptoms, such as fatigue and pain, work disability and employment.
Methodology: A literature search was performed in Medline (PubMed) and a qualitative analysis was done of all publications relating to the burden of SLE (January 2000 to May 2010, updated in June 2013) matching the following inclusion criteria: prospective studies involving ≥100 patients with SLE; studies focussing on QoL, ADL, function/disability, patient perceptions/experience of their illness, physical/psychological/social impact, unmet needs, work disability/employment status or specific signs/symptoms expected to impact on HRQoL/ADL; studies predominantly involving patients of Caucasian ethnicity; and studies based in Europe, North America or Australia. Studies in juvenile patients; studies of the impact of obesity; studies of non-pharmacological interventions, dietary supplements or alternative medicines; and health-economic analyses were excluded.
Results/conclusions: The present literature analysis showed that SLE has a considerable impact on the HRQoL of patients and their ability to carry out normal daily activities, resulting in a high prevalence of disability. The HRQoL of patients with SLE is consistently lower than that of matched healthy control subjects or patients with other chronic diseases. Predictors of poor HRQoL in patients with SLE include older age, fatigue and the presence of co-morbid neurological or psychiatric disorders, particularly depression or anxiety. Conversely, clinical measures of disease activity and organ damage are poor indicators of patients' HRQoL. Even though current evidence gives an insight into the HRQoL in patients with SLE, there are still many areas where results need to be confirmed or clarified and therefore there is the need to conduct further studies including trials with HRQoL as a primary objective.