Quality evaluation of the underlying evidence in the updated treatment recommendations for systemic lupus erythematosus

Yarden Yavne, Yonatan Edel, Julia Berman, Tali Eviatar, Daniel Shepshelovich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: SLE is a multisystem autoimmune disorder known for its broad clinical spectrum. Recently, the European, British and Latin American rheumatology professional societies [EULAR, British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) and Pan-American League of Associations of Rheumatology (PANLAR)] published updated recommendations for SLE management. The objective of this study was to characterize the data supporting the updated recommendations, with the goal of highlighting areas that could benefit from additional high-quality research. Methods: References were compiled from the recently published EULAR, BSR and PANLAR SLE treatment recommendations. Data collected from each study included publication year, treatment regimen, study design, sample size, inclusion and exclusion criteria and relevant SLE diagnostic criteria. Studies with less than 10 patients and those that did not specify the SLE diagnostic criteria used were excluded. Results: Altogether, 250 studies were included in this study. The majority were prospective and retrospective cohorts (72%), with only a small percentage of randomized controlled trials (28%). The median (interquartile range) number of patients included was 37 (19-86). The revised ACR 1982 criteria were the most commonly used criteria for SLE diagnosis (52%), followed by the revised ACR criteria from 1997 (27%). Only a small proportion of studies included the use of disease activity scores when defining study population (15%). Conclusion: Our study has indicated a scarcity of sufficiently powered high-quality research referenced in the recently published SLE treatment guidelines. Well-designed large-scale studies utilizing the updated 2019 SLE diagnostic criteria are needed to better inform healthcare professionals caring for patients with SLE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-248
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • SLE
  • classification criteria
  • guidelines
  • lupus


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