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November 1989

Incomplete Lupus Erythematosus

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Clinical Immunology, Rheumatology, and Allergy, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, and Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville, Fla (Drs Greer and Panush); Department of Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–New Jersey Medical School, Newark (Dr Panush); and Department of Medicine, St Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, NJ (Dr Panush). Dr Greer is now with the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Medical Center Clinic PA, Pensacola, Fla.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(11):2473-2476. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390110061013

• Thirty-eight patients with incomplete lupus erythematosus (ILE) (defined as the presence of fewer than four of the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology for systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE]) were identified and compared with 42 patients with SLE. Both groups were comparable with respect to age, sex, and race. Patients with ILE had symptoms for an average of 38 months before seeking rheumatologic care and were followed up for a mean of 19 months; patients with SLE averaged 9 months with symptoms before their diagnosis was made and were followed for a mean of 30 months. Characteristic clinical features of patients with ILE included positive antinuclear antibody titers (83%), polyarticular nonerosive arthritis (47%), and cutaneous findings (61%). These were comparable with findings in the the SLE group. However, patients with ILE had significantly fewer systemic manifestations than did those with SLE. Patients with ILE were treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs more frequently (47%) than were patients with SLE, while the latter group received more topical and oral corticosteorids and immunosuppressives. Only two of the patients with ILE went on to have typical SLE. Thus, ILE may be frequent, mild, and relatively stable or benign, apparently evolving slowly if at all into SLE or other rheumatic disease.

(Arch Intern Med. 1989;149:2473-2476)

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