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07-03-2016 | Systemic lupus erythematosus | Review | Article

What Causes Lupus Flares?

Current Rheumatology Reports

Authors: David Fernandez, Kyriakos A. Kirou

Publisher: Springer US


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the prototypic systemic autoimmune disease, follows a chronic disease course, punctuated by flares. Disease flares often occur without apparent cause, perhaps from progressive inherent buildup of autoimmunity. However, there is evidence that certain environmental factors may trigger the disease. These include exposure to UV light, infections, certain hormones, and drugs which may activate the innate and adaptive immune system, resulting in inflammation, cytotoxic effects, and clinical symptoms. Uncontrolled disease flares, as well as their treatment, especially with glucocorticoids, can cause significant organ damage. Tight surveillance and timely control of lupus flares with judicial use of effective treatments to adequately suppress the excessive immune system activation are required to bring about long term remission of the disease. We hope that new clinical trials will soon offer additional effective and target-specific biologic treatments for SLE.

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