Patient Struggles with Lupus

At the recent Congress of Clinical Rheumatology West, Richard Furie, MD had news about unmet needs in lupus.  

“There are different ways to look at unmet needs in lupus,” he told attendees during the hybrid meeting. “If you go back to the 1940s, the outlook for a patient with lupus was absolutely terrible.

Citing a study published by Tektonidou et al, Furie indicated that the 7-year mortality rate among patients with lupus was 50% in 1950, and now it’s 15-20%.

He added:  “If you look at patients with lupus nephritis, our complete response rates are about 40%, so the majority of our patients are not doing as well as we would like.  We have unmet needs in lupus nephritis, we have unmet needs in severe extra-renal disease, and the name of the game with any disease is to prevent damage.” 

And there’s what’s called “derived damage” – in addition to disease activity, damage can also originate from the therapies intended to alleviate damage, with steroids as one major source of therapy-derived damage.

There are new drugs, including anifrolumab (Saphnelo, AstraZeneca), belimumab (Benlysta, GlaxoSmithKline) and voclosporin (Lupkynis, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals), that may represent hope for patients with SLE or lupus nephritism.  Belimumab has also demonstrated advantages for patients with SLE as well as lupus nephritis.