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  1. It is estimated that more than 330 million people currently suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome worldwide. Although often misunderstood, the complex disease can even lead to a chronic vision threatening disorder, conjunctivochalasis (CCh). Certain modern day conveniences are thought to be a cause in the increase of the condition, with extended viewing of digital screens, laser eye surgery, exposure to air conditioning and increased life expectancy to blame for the growing incidence. LO2A Eye Drops Artificial tear preparation, presented in sterile, uni-dose vials to minimize risk of infection and contamination. LO2A is currently registered and marketed by its inventor in Germany and Switzerland for the treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome ("Dry Eye"), in Hungary for the treatment of Dry Eye and Conjunctivochalasis ("CCh") and in the Netherlands for the treatment of Dry Eye and Sjögren’s Syndrom. LO2A was developed by Prof. Shabtay Dikstein (School of Pharmacy, Hebrew U. – 1990s), as substitute for natural tears, to lubricate and protect ocular surface tissues. Well-established safety profile over more than 10 years of sales in Europe through local distributors, with no material known side effects. Preservative-free (Preservatives have recognized potential for irritation and sensitization; can damage the ocular surface and cornea) Can be used with any contact lenses Anti-irritant properties Non-Newtonian viscosity profile Available in uni-dose and future multi-dose form Wize Pharma holds exclusive marketing & distribution rights in US, ROW(*), Ukraine & Israel Sold by the inventor as: Hylan® – Germany, the Netherlands Lacrycon® – Switzerland Conheal® – Hungary Dry Eye Syndrome ("Dry Eye") Multifactorial disease of the tear and ocular surface resulting in discomfort, visual disturbance and tear film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface.* Tear layer protects the surface of the eye, providing nutrition Injury is a dynamic process, resulting in change in tear composition & symptoms of burning, redness, blurred vision, etc. Dry Eye is the most frequent symptom treated by ophthalmologists Epidemiological studies show dry eye will occur in 14-33% of population. Market size in 2014 est. + $2.5B, increasing steadily every year. Increase in incidence with age and other factor Conjunctivochalasis (CCh) Conjunctivochalasis (CCh) is a complication of dry eye Aseptic, chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva; on a background of dry eye syndrome Common age-related eye condition over 50; increases in frequency & severity with age Also markedly increased in people wearing contact lenses, regardless of age Appears in one third of dry eye patients Inflammation condition is sustained; not spontaneously reversible Severe CCh (Stage 3) can only be treated by invasive surgical treatment, which can cause considerable discomfort Sjögren’s Syndrome Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic long-term auto-immune disease The patient's white blood cells attack the saliva and tear glands, leading to dry mouth and eyes While Sjögren’s syndrome can develop at any age, the majority of patients are diagnosed after the age of 40 with 90% of patients female There are approximately 4,000,000 people in the USA and 500,000 in the UK with Sjögren’s Syndrome
  2. Study Confirms Urgent, Unmet Needs in Childhood-Onset Lupus Experts identify lupus nephritis and neuropsychiatric disease among highest research priority areas. The Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) and Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) conducted a first-of-its-kind, multidisciplinary research effort on childhood-onset lupus to assess research priorities for addressing this life-threatening disease. Results from the study, “Research Priorities in Childhood-Onset Lupus: Results of a Multidisciplinary Prioritization Exercise” published in Pediatric Rheumatology, conclude that the highest areas needing research in childhood lupus are nephritis, clinical trials, biomarkers, neuropsychiatric disease, and refractory skin disease. The study also revealed a strong need for multidisciplinary collaboration moving forward. When asked which sub-specialties in addition to rheumatology should collaborate in childhood lupus research, 92% suggested collaborating with nephrologists, 73% with dermatologists, and 68% with mental health specialists. Children with lupus have more pervasive and life-threatening organ involvement compared to adults with lupus, and an estimated 6,000 US children and adolescents are currently living with the disease which has few treatment options and no cure. Over 250 members of CARRA, Midwestern Pediatric Nephrology Consortium (MWPNC) and Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance (PeDRA) Connective Tissue Disease Group participated in the study. Click image to view larger Inflammation of the Kidneys Nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) was identified as the number one research priority. Up to 80% of children with lupus develop nephritis, which increases risk of kidney failure, cardiovascular disease and death. Lupus nephritis (LN) requires prolonged therapy, often with toxic medications, and complex treatment plans. Although there have been many advances over the last several decades and many people with lupus can enjoy good health and normal activities, LN is still a driving factor in increased complications, hospitalizations and mortality rates, especially in children versus adults with lupus. Cognitive Impairment Lupus commonly affects the brain in children and can cause strokes as well as severely impair the ability to think through tasks. Neuropsychiatric disease (involvement of the nervous system) was also identified as a top challenge for clinicians and researchers treating children with lupus. Neuropsychiatric complications can have substantial negative impact on cognitive development, educational and vocational outcomes in children and adolescents with lupus. Up to 65% of children with lupus develop neuropsychiatric involvement over the course of their disease, with up to 85% developing neuropsychiatric involvement in the first two years from diagnosis.1 The burden, ranging from missed school or even school failure to major challenges with treatment adherence, can have an enormous impact on a child’s psychological development and quality of life. Today, the treatment of childhood lupus is generally extrapolated from adult clinical trials data and optimal drug dosing, duration of therapy and outcomes measurement may differ for pediatric patients. Specific to nephritis and neuropsychiatric disease, important focus areas across all lupus experts were determining best treatments, biomarkers/pathophysiology, drug discovery/novel treatments, understanding long term outcomes, and refining provider reported quality measures. Of note, understanding long term outcomes was ranked highly important across every research area. “This study underscores the urgency for childhood lupus research. We are committed to investing in this area, and our partnership with CARRA as leaders in this field will bolster our progress as we work together to elevate childhood lupus research,” said Stevan Gibson, President and CEO, Lupus Foundation of America. “The findings from the study offer a roadmap to guide future research endeavors, so that the scope and devastation of lupus in children aligns with received funding.” “This is the first published research prioritization effort among experts in childhood lupus, which highlights the lack of evidence that exists specific to this disease. There are important differences between adults and children, and significant knowledge gaps limit our understanding of the best treatments and long term outcomes in children with lupus,” said Aimee Hersh, Chair of the CARRA Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Committee. “This multidisciplinary approach to identifying research priorities emphasizes the need for collaboration for childhood lupus care and research. The results from this exercise will help set a research agenda moving forward.” The study, Research Priorities in Childhood-Onset Lupus: Results of a Multidisciplinary Prioritization Exercise, appears in Pediatric Rheumatology. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Children and Adolescents, Pediatric Clinics of North America, Volume 59, Issue 2, April 2012 https://www.lupus.org/news/study-confirms-urgent-unmet-needs-in-childhoodonset-lupus
  3. Rheumatology, the journal of the British Society for Rheumatology, is offering free access (through December 31) to its ten most highly cited papers of 2017 and 2018. https://academic.oup.com/rheumatology/pages/highly_cited_articles Highly Cited Articles Rheumatology publishes a wide range of high quality original scientific papers with a focus on basic, clinical, and translational research in rheumatology. Ten of the highest cited papers published in 2017 and 2018 can be explored below for free until the end of December 2019. The worldwide incidence and prevalence of systemic lupus erythematosus: a systematic review of epidemiological studies Frances Rees, Michael Doherty, Matthew J Grainge, Peter Lanyon, Weiya Zhang The spectrum of giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica: revisiting the concept of the disease Christian Dejaco, Christina Duftner, Frank Buttgereit, Eric L. Matteson, Bhaskar Dasgupta Secukinumab sustains improvement in signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis: 2 year results from the phase 3 FUTURE 2 study Iain B McInnes, Philip J Mease, Christopher T Ritchlin, Proton Rahman, Alice B Gottlieb, et al. The British Society for Rheumatology guideline for the management of systemic lupus erythematosus in adults Caroline Gordon, Maame-Boatemaa Amissah-Arthur, Mary Gayed, Sue Brown, Ian N. Bruce, et al. The effect of ethnicity and genetic ancestry on the epidemiology, clinical features and outcome of systemic lupus erythematosus Myles J. Lewis, Ali S. Jawad A longitudinal cohort study of the anti-synthetase syndrome: increased severity of interstitial lung disease in black patients and patients with anti-PL7 and anti-PL12 autoantibodies Iago Pinal-Fernandez, Maria Casal-Dominguez, Julio A. Huapaya, Jemima Albayda, Julie J. Paik, et al. Nicotine drives neutrophil extracellular traps formation and accelerates collagen-induced arthritis Jaejoon Lee, Ayala Luria, Christopher Rhodes, Harini Raghu, Nithya Lingampalli, et al. What drives osteoarthritis?—synovial versus subchondral bone pathology Thomas Hügle, Jeroen Geurts The British Society for Rheumatology Guideline for the Management of Gout Michelle Hui, Alison Carr, Stewart Cameron, Graham Davenport, Michael Doherty, et al. More severe disease and slower recovery in younger patients with anti-3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase-associated autoimmune myopathy Eleni Tiniakou, Iago Pinal-Fernandez, Thomas E. Lloyd, Jemima Albayda, Julie Paik, et al.
  4. A stay-at-home August. Our little dog, Lucy, has been ill and we daren’t risk travel. Yet there are upsides to our August at home. London is different, tourists outnumber commuters, seats in trains, peace over Brexit while the ‘remainers’ take their August break in Provence. No conferences or medical meetings, though September promises to be busy, with our own annual Hughes Syndrome patients’ meeting fully subscribed (we plan another in March next year). Also, there is the 13th international antiphospholipid conference in Manchester. This biannual conference has grown and grown. The first conference, which we organised at Hammersmith Hospital in 1984 (a year after our original papers on the syndrome in 1983) attracted, I think, 47 attendees! This year, the conference returns to England for the first time – to Manchester and organised by my friend Prof. Ian Bruce. As before, the abstracts of the papers will be published in the journal ‘LUPUS. I also hope to provide a summary for our charity website ghic.world/ Patient of the month Leg pain Mrs SR, aged 55, previously well, suffered from acute pain and swelling in her left calf. She had been on an organised walk the day before and at first attributed the pain to muscle spasm. The following day the pain and discomfort spread to the other leg and with it, a darkish discolouration in the right toes. Mrs SR’s GP arranged for an urgent appointment at the nearest vascular clinic. The initial findings suggested two separate problems, a probable DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in the left leg and more seriously, an arterial clot in the right leg. Mrs SR was admitted for further investigation. To cut a long story short, Mrs SR underwent arterial surgery to remove the artery obstruction and was treated with Warfarin anticoagulation. Further investigation showed a surprisingly normal arterial tree. A slight mitral valve leak was found, but thought not to be significant. Slowly, painfully, the ischaemic big toe healed. Further tests? Routine blood tests were essentially normal, including blood sugar, cholesterol and screens for malignancy and infection. Further history Mrs SR mentioned to the houseman that her sister suffered from Lupus. Lupus tests were negative,.but the houseman (a locum) had heard of Antiphospholipid Syndrome – a cousin of Lupus – and ran the blood tests. All three tests positive, strongly positive. The whole clinical picture (possibly including the cardiac valve leak) fitted the diagnosis. Treatment: long term Warfarin, probably at high level. Outlook good, provided the patient kept a careful watch over her anticoagulant control. What is this patient teaching us? To suffer both a venous thrombosis as well as an arterial thrombosis certainly suggests Hughes Syndrome. (Most other clotting disorders cause venous thrombosis only). Oddly, there were no other obvious precipitating factors or clues (except perhaps the leaky valve). Wrong! There was a clue. A strong one. Mrs SR had a strong family history of auto-immune diseases – Lupus and now possibly Hughes Syndrome (and maybe more). The more we seek, the more we find genetic linkages within the growing autoimmunity world family. (Prof G Hughes', The London Lupus Centre)
  5. 10 Challenges in Treating Lupus 10 most important challenges in treating patients with SLE. (©Blueringmedia,AdobeStock) Gregory M. Weiss, M.D. June 13, 2019 We have come a long way since the introduction of glucocorticoids for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A one-year survival rate of 50 percent has become a 10-year survival of 90 percent due to advances in treatment. Even with improved treatment and prognosis several challenges remain in the management of SLE. In this article, we highlight the 10 most important challenges in treating patients with SLE as outlined by Laurent Arnaud, M.D., Ph.D., of Strasbourg, France, in a review published in Lupus Science & Medicine earlier this year. 1) Treat to target favoring disease remission (or low disease activity) In 2016, a large international panel sought to define remission in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The panel was able to agree on three principles: Remission should be a durable state. A validated index should be used. Distinction should be made between remission on and off therapy. While at the same time the Asia Pacific Lupus Collaboration developed a Low Disease Activity State index, the challenge remains to validate whether these definitions are predictive of outcomes and ultimately used as targets in treat-to-target management of SLE. 2) Limiting the use of glucocorticoids While glucocorticoids have played a major role in the improvement of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) prognosis, a large number of patients never discontinue glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoid dose predicts its overall exposure which can increase the risk of damage accrual even at low doses. Several challenges exist with regards to glucocorticoid treatment in SLE: Using a low dose glucocorticoid or a glucocorticoid free regimen should be discussed as a major target. Glucocorticoid management should be addressed as an important concern in future research with glucocorticoid tapering schemes, glucocorticoid-related adverse events, damage accrual and cumulative glucocorticoid doses being examined. Glucocorticoid doses should be managed using more objective tools such as the glucocorticoid cumulative dose, follow-up of disease activity and damage, and recording of glucocorticoid-related adverse events. 3) Deriving more comprehensive tools for the evaluation of disease activity Do to multiple organs being involved in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), it is difficult to define disease activity as a whole. While several tools have been developed to assess the overall activity of the disease, in most cases the clinician has to form a judgment with regard to whether each manifestation is due to SLE or some other cause. The authors believe that a more objective and reproducible measure of disease activity is needed and may include biomarkers and utilization of modern technology such as deep machine learning. 4) Developing more effective and better tolerated drugs While drug therapy in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has improved, several gaps remain in the care of SLE patients such as the progression of lupus nephritis to end-stage kidney disease. For example, in lupus nephritis, a significant proportion of patients still progress towards end-stage kidney disease. “Our group has recently published a systematic review (in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases) of 74 targeted therapies for SLE, showing that we may expect great changes in the therapeutic tools available for SLE treatment,” the authors wrote. “We believe that current challenges are shifting from whether some new drugs will be available to the identification of the best strategy for the selection of the most adequate drug (or drug combination) at the patient level, to warrant a positive balance between efficacy and side effects. The need to investigate biomarkers that would allow adequate prediction of response to therapy remains high, but when solved will allow a more rational selection of the optimal pharmacological agent within the broad pipeline of targeted therapies for SLE.” These current challenges are shifting from whether new drugs will be available to identifying the best strategy for the selection of the most adequate drug, or drug combination, at the patient level. Identifying strong biomarkers will allow a more rational selection of the optimal pharmacological agent. 5) Dissecting the heterogeneity of the disease at the molecular and genetic level Both environmental and genetic factors play roles in the development and exacerbation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). To date, a large number of nucleotide polymorphisms have been implicated in SLE however none of them have utility on their own in the diagnosis or treatment of patients. An important challenge will be to develop an optimal genetic model for patients’ sub-stratification using multiomics to better personalize medicine for patients with SLE 6) Identifying relevant biomarkers for individualized treatment Matching the right treatment to the individual patient remains a challenge in SLE. Traditional markers such as anti-double-stranded-DNA fall short and should give way to multiomics, which utilize high-throughput tools such as next-generation sequencing and computerization of data, to open the door for an integrated and personalized treatment approach. Non-coding RNAs, owing to being tissue-specific regulators of gene expression, may emerge as important makers of flares in SLE. It remains a challenge to develop a holistic approach to SLE, a challenge that will require a specialized interface between all providers. 7) Managing fertility and pregnancy Pregnancy remains a significant challenge in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We as clinicians have to improve the outcomes of pregnancy in patients with aPL and/or anti-SSA/B antibodies. The overall prognosis of pregnancy in SLE is better when the disease has been in remission for at least six months, or one year for nephritis with a low organ damage score. Strong predictors of complications during pregnancy with SLE include: Active SLE at the time of conception and/or positivity for lupus anticoagulant or triple positivity, use of antihypertensive treatments, and low platelet count. Finally, clinicians should be aware that pregnancy complications can mimic SLE flares and anti-phospholipid antibodies can lead to both maternal and fetal adverse events. Managing comorbidities Late cardiovascular morbidity and mortality have increased along with overall systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patient survival. One challenge here is that measures validated for determining cardiovascular disease risk are based on North American populations and may not be adapted from the general population to patients with SLE. Infections remain an serious comorbidity with SLE. Vaccines should be used provided immunosuppressive therapy does not contraindicate use. Osteoporosis can be significant in SLE patients especially with glucocorticoid treatment. Anti-osteoporotic treatment should be considered. 9) Improving the network of care More light should be shed on rare diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We need to improve early diagnosis while limiting diagnosis uncertainty. Training of new clinicians should included recognition of rare diseases and education should be provided to practicing caregivers, patients, and their families alike. Global awareness should be the goal. 10) Favoring a holistic approach All aspects of the patient with SLE should be addressed. Patient reported outcome measures can facilitate holistic treatment and lead to better quality of life. Just as organ damage is a concern, so should fatigue, depression, pain, sleep disturbance and obesity be. Better trials are needed in an effort to find non-pharmacological interventions aimed at treating the whole patient. Finally, individual factors such as race, smoking, and socioeconomic background should be taken into consideration when developing a plan for patients with SLE. REFERENCE Renaud Felten, Flora Sagez, Pierre-Edouard Gavand, et al. “10 most important contemporary challenges in the management of SLE.” Lupus Science & Medicine 2019;6:e000303. DOI:10.1136/ lupus-2018-000303 https://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/lupus/10-challenges-treating-lupus
  6. Pregnant SLE Patients Discontinue Meds When They Shouldn't (©SydaProductionsShutterStock.com) Gregory M. Weiss, M.D. August 7, 2019 Lupus, Modern Medicine News, News, Rheumatology Recent evidence shows that pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) often discontinue their lupus medications during pregnancy despite recommendations to continue them. The findings, reported by Mary A. De Vera, M.D., of the University of British Columbia, appear in the July 16 online issue of Lupus. “Considering the patterns of medication use seen in this study, it appears that expectant mothers with SLE would benefit from having a discussion with their care providers about how to manage their disease during their pregnancy, which medications are safe to take, and which should be avoided,” the authors wrote. “Knowing medication use in pregnant women with SLE is key to understanding how to support patients with family planning and pregnancy decisions.” Since lupus primarily affects women in their childbearing years, pregnancy can be a time fraught with risk and complications such as stillbirth, preterm labor and miscarriage. A significant portion of pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus will experience flares late in the pregnancy or after the birth. While concerns over taking medications during pregnancy exist, it is recommended that women with lupus continue their antimalarial drugs like hydroxychloroquine throughout gestation and during breast-feeding, according to GR de Jesus, et al. writing in the July 12, 2015 online issue of Autoimmune Diseases. The authors of the Lupus study sought to characterize the frequency of use of anti-malarial drugs, immunosuppressants and other medications, before, during and after pregnancy with particular interest on discontinuation of antimalarials and immunosuppressants during pregnancy. THE STUDY This was a population-based study of 284 women with systemic lupus erythematosus and 376 pregnancies. They were assessed for the discontinuation of antimalarials and immunosuppressants. Use of other lupus medications were also recorded. Rates of antimalarial use and azathioprine during the study period were 33.2 percent and 11.4 percent respectively. The authors further found that 26.3 percent of pregnancies in lupus patients were exposed to glucocorticosteroids and 23.7 percent to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Pre-pregnancy antimalarial use stood at 36.2 percent, which dropped to 19.1 percent during the first trimester, 16.7 percent in the second, and held relatively steady at 17 percent in the third. Use rebounded to 31.1 percent after delivery. Pre-Pregnancy azathioprine was used by 11.7 percent, which dropped to 6.6 percent in the first trimester, 6.4 percent during the second, 6.9 percent in the third and rose to 10.4 percent after delivery. 33.2 percent of patients were exposed to glucocorticosteroids before pregnancy, 14.9 percent in the first trimester, 13.3 percent in the second trimester, 19.7 percent in the third trimester and 25.3 percent after delivery. 34.8 percent were exposed to NSIADs before pregnancy and 19.1 percent after pregnancy. Antimalarials were discontinued at a rate of 28.9 percent in the 12 months preceding pregnancy and 9.7 percent during pregnancy from the first trimester to the second and 26 percent from the second trimester to the third. Having had more children was associated with discontinuing antimalarials before pregnancy and time since lupus diagnosis was associated with higher odds of discontinuing antimalarials during pregnancy. Azathioprine was discontinued at a rate of 29.2 percent before pregnancy, 8.0 percent from the first to the second trimester and 9.1 percent from the second to third. Take-home points for clinicians and final thoughts The high rates of discontinuation, in particular antimalarial treatment underscore the disconnect between the recommended treatment for lupus during pregnancy and the reality. “As these findings conflict with the afore- mentioned recommendations regarding the continued use of antimalarials during SLE pregnancies, they suggest the importance of educating women with SLE who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant on the benefits and risks of medications during pregnancy,” the authors write. Compliance is a serious concern. Strong evidence and concise recommendations are useless if patients are not following the treatment plan. The responsibility rests with the clinician to disseminate the knowledge pregnant women need to make the right choices about continuing their medication regimen when both systemic lupus erythematosus and pregnancy coincide. REFERENCE Zusman, E. Z., Sayre, E. C., Aviña-Zubieta, J. A., & De Vera, M. A. (2019). “Patterns of medication use before, during and after pregnancy in women with systemic lupus erythematosus: a population-based cohort study.” Lupus. July 16, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1177/0961203319863111 https://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/lupus/pregnant-sle-patients-discontinue-meds-when-they-shouldnt
  7. Pregnant SLE Patients Discontinue Meds When They Shouldn't (©SydaProductionsShutterStock.com) Gregory M. Weiss, M.D. August 7, 2019 Lupus, Modern Medicine News, News, Rheumatology Recent evidence shows that pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) often discontinue their lupus medications during pregnancy despite recommendations to continue them. The findings, reported by Mary A. De Vera, M.D., of the University of British Columbia, appear in the July 16 online issue of Lupus. “Considering the patterns of medication use seen in this study, it appears that expectant mothers with SLE would benefit from having a discussion with their care providers about how to manage their disease during their pregnancy, which medications are safe to take, and which should be avoided,” the authors wrote. “Knowing medication use in pregnant women with SLE is key to understanding how to support patients with family planning and pregnancy decisions.” Since lupus primarily affects women in their childbearing years, pregnancy can be a time fraught with risk and complications such as stillbirth, preterm labor and miscarriage. A significant portion of pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus will experience flares late in the pregnancy or after the birth. While concerns over taking medications during pregnancy exist, it is recommended that women with lupus continue their antimalarial drugs like hydroxychloroquine throughout gestation and during breast-feeding, according to GR de Jesus, et al. writing in the July 12, 2015 online issue of Autoimmune Diseases. The authors of the Lupus study sought to characterize the frequency of use of anti-malarial drugs, immunosuppressants and other medications, before, during and after pregnancy with particular interest on discontinuation of antimalarials and immunosuppressants during pregnancy. THE STUDY This was a population-based study of 284 women with systemic lupus erythematosus and 376 pregnancies. They were assessed for the discontinuation of antimalarials and immunosuppressants. Use of other lupus medications were also recorded. Rates of antimalarial use and azathioprine during the study period were 33.2 percent and 11.4 percent respectively. The authors further found that 26.3 percent of pregnancies in lupus patients were exposed to glucocorticosteroids and 23.7 percent to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Pre-pregnancy antimalarial use stood at 36.2 percent, which dropped to 19.1 percent during the first trimester, 16.7 percent in the second, and held relatively steady at 17 percent in the third. Use rebounded to 31.1 percent after delivery. Pre-Pregnancy azathioprine was used by 11.7 percent, which dropped to 6.6 percent in the first trimester, 6.4 percent during the second, 6.9 percent in the third and rose to 10.4 percent after delivery. 33.2 percent of patients were exposed to glucocorticosteroids before pregnancy, 14.9 percent in the first trimester, 13.3 percent in the second trimester, 19.7 percent in the third trimester and 25.3 percent after delivery. 34.8 percent were exposed to NSIADs before pregnancy and 19.1 percent after pregnancy. Antimalarials were discontinued at a rate of 28.9 percent in the 12 months preceding pregnancy and 9.7 percent during pregnancy from the first trimester to the second and 26 percent from the second trimester to the third. Having had more children was associated with discontinuing antimalarials before pregnancy and time since lupus diagnosis was associated with higher odds of discontinuing antimalarials during pregnancy. Azathioprine was discontinued at a rate of 29.2 percent before pregnancy, 8.0 percent from the first to the second trimester and 9.1 percent from the second to third. Take-home points for clinicians and final thoughts The high rates of discontinuation, in particular antimalarial treatment underscore the disconnect between the recommended treatment for lupus during pregnancy and the reality. “As these findings conflict with the afore- mentioned recommendations regarding the continued use of antimalarials during SLE pregnancies, they suggest the importance of educating women with SLE who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant on the benefits and risks of medications during pregnancy,” the authors write. Compliance is a serious concern. Strong evidence and concise recommendations are useless if patients are not following the treatment plan. The responsibility rests with the clinician to disseminate the knowledge pregnant women need to make the right choices about continuing their medication regimen when both systemic lupus erythematosus and pregnancy coincide. REFERENCE Zusman, E. Z., Sayre, E. C., Aviña-Zubieta, J. A., & De Vera, M. A. (2019). “Patterns of medication use before, during and after pregnancy in women with systemic lupus erythematosus: a population-based cohort study.” Lupus. July 16, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1177/0961203319863111 https://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/lupus/pregnant-sle-patients-discontinue-meds-when-they-shouldnt
  8. SLE Breakthrough Finds a Link Between Microbial Translocation and Autoantibodies (©AysezgicmeliShutterstock.com) Gregory M. Weiss, M.D. August 7, 2019 Lupus, Modern Medicine News, News, Rheumatology A previously unknown direct relationship has been found between microbial translocation from the gastrointestinal tract and autoantibody levels in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The findings by, Gary Gilkeson, M.D., and Wei Jiang, M.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, appear in the May 20 online issue of Arthritis and Rheumatology. The authors state, “An understanding of the mechanism of autoantibody induction in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can lead to the development of therapeutic targets that prevent autoantibody production thereby slowing disease onset, mitigating downstream inflammation and reducing tissue damages.” Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune mediated inflammatory disease that results from a loss of tolerance to the patient’s own antigens leading to autoantibody production. It is known that genetic factors influence the development of lupus leading to clustering of the disease within families. The source of autoantibody production in systemic lupus erythematosus remains elusive and is likely multifactorial with genetic, environmental, immunologic, and hormonal factors contributing to development of the disease. Recent research has implicated increased intestinal permeability in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease. While under normal conditions the gastrointestinal tract serves as a barrier to environmental antigens, however, in certain disease states, this barrier may be compromised allowing translocation of gut microbes into the bloodstream. The authors sought to determine the role of microbial translocation in systemic lupus erythematosus. They examined lupus patients and their first-degree relatives comparing them to healthy controls. Two cohorts were included in the study. The first group consisted of 18 unrelated healthy control subjects and 18 first-degree relatives of systemic lupus erythematosus patients. The second included 19 healthy controls and 21 lupus patients. Plasma autoantibodies and lipopolysaccharide levels were measured and DNA bacterial DNA was extracted from plasma to determine if translocation had occurred. From the bacterial DNA microbiome species was determined. Auto-antigen array demonstrated higher plasma levels of a large spectrum of autoantibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus patients and first-degree relatives of lupus patients compared to healthy controls. Four representative lupus-related IgG autoantibodies including anti-double stranded DNA, anti-nucleosome, anti-single stranded DNA and anti-chromatin were increased in lupus patients and first-degree relatives compared to healthy control subjects. Compared to unrelated healthy control subjects, systemic lupus erythematosus patients and parents or children who were first-degree relatives had increased microbial translocation as evidenced by plasma lipopolysaccharide levels. First-degree relatives of lupus patients but not lupus patients themselves had decreased intestinal species diversity when compared to healthy controls. Take-home points and final thoughts First-degree relatives of systemic lupus erythematosus patients also have significantly elevated levels of lupus related autoantibodies. Increased levels of lipopolysaccharide in these patients are consistent with prior research linking infection, bacterial translocation and autoimmunity. The authors state, “The increased translocation of bacterial products into the systemic circulation from the permeable mucosa suggests that insights into autoimmune pathology can be gained from studying the circulating microbiome as opposed to other sites.” In a letter to the editor the authors discuss why they believe bacterial diversity was decreased in relatives but not in lupus patients themselves. They found after reanalyzing the data that diversity differences did not occur within a specific racial group but did between different races. They point out that, “while race may play a role in differences in circulating microbiome diversity, additional studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis.” Systemic lupus erythematosus is a very complex disease with an etiology that has remained elusive. The authors have discovered a possible infectious cause of lupus that could lead to focus on intestinal integrity and possibly uncover medications that we are using that compromise gut barrier. While the discovery of bacterial translocation in lupus opens the door for future investigation into preventing this from happening, the sheer number of different possible causes for systemic lupus erythematosus remains daunting. With continued efforts like those of the authors, we take important steps toward understanding lupus in the hopes of improving the quality of life of those who suffer from it. REFERENCE Elizabeth Ogunrinde, Zejun Zhou, Zhenwu Luo, et al. "A link between plasma microbial translocation, microbiome, and autoantibody development in first-degree relatives of systemic lupus erythematosus patients." Arthritis and Rheumatology. 2019 May 20. doi: 10.1002/art.40935 https://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/lupus/sle-breakthrough-finds-link-between-microbial-translocation-and-autoantibodies?rememberme=1&elq_mid=8392&elq_cid=1830808&GUID=9D824BFE-EF27-47A3-BAE0-900DC34C90C7
  9. Take the Right Shots for Lupus! August 15, 2019 While August is when we savor the last weeks of summer, it is also the time to look ahead and prepare for fall. In recognition of National Immunization Month, our Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Teodora Staeva provides background on vaccines and relays government recommendations for which are safe for people with lupus. “Vaccines help to develop immunity, in other words protect against disease, by imitating an infection,” notes Dr. Staeva. “Most vaccines contain small amounts of the germs (or parts of them) that cause disease but are either killed or weakened. The vaccine prompts the immune system to produce T cells and antibodies against these germs, and thus allows the body to learn how to fight these microbes in the future. However, several rounds of vaccination are often required to achieve optimal protection.” Currently there are four main types of vaccines. Live-attenuated vaccines use the weakened (attenuated) form of the virus so that it does not cause serious illness in individuals with healthy immune systems. Vaccines with live viruses are generally NOT recommended for people with lupus. Inactivated vaccines are made by killing the germ while making the vaccine. These are considered safe and effective for people with lupus. Subunit or purified antigen vaccines use only specific pieces of the germ. Thus, they give a very robust immune response targeted to key portions of the microbe. Generally, these vaccines can be used widely, including on people with weakened immune systems. Toxoid vaccines use a toxin (harmful product) made by the germ that causes a disease. They create immunity to the parts of the germ that cause a disease instead of the germ itself. That means the immune response is targeted to the toxin instead of the whole germ. “People with lupus are at greater risk for infections due to immunosuppression, so vaccines are very important,” noted Dr. Staeva. “But speak to your doctor before getting any vaccine to determine which are right for you and when.” _________________________________________________________________________ Recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Office of Women’s Health: People with lupus typically can get the following vaccines that do not contain live viruses: The flu shot (not nasal spray which contains a live form of the flu virus) Pneumonia vaccine Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Td/Tdap) vaccine Vaccines with live viruses that may not be safe for people with lupus, include: Nasal spray vaccine for the flu Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine Herpes Zoster (Shingles) vaccine Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine Live typhoid vaccine (oral) Sources: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Women’s Health https://www.lupusresearch.org/take-the-right-shots-for-lupus/
  10. July 2019 22 July 2019 by Professor Graham R V Hughes MD FRCP This week, we held the 33rd annual “Ten Topics in Rheumatology” meeting in London. Organised by Professor Chris Edwards and his team from the London Lupus Centre – Professor David D’Cruz, Professor Munther Khamashta and Dr Arvind Kaul, it was a full house of 300 doctors from far and wide, including one from New Zealand. For me, it was a fantastic 2 days – the usual formula of top international speakers, short presentations and the most up-to-date reviews. Congratulations to Chris and the team. I took part in a session arranged by Professor Khamashta called “kerbside consults” – a series of cases (of Hughes Syndrome) with questions posed by the audience, as well as 3 experts – Cathy Nelson-Piercy (Consultant Obstetric Physician at St Thomas’ Hospital) and David D’Cruz (my colleague at the London Lupus Centre) and myself. One of the 4 cases presented by Professor Khamashta covered a number of aspects and I will use this case for my July blog. Patient of the Month Miss G.L., a 25 year old secretary, developed an acute deep vein thrombosis of the leg at the age of 23. There had been no prior clues to the diagnosis apart from a past history of frequent pre-menstrual headaches. She had never smoked or taken oestrogen-containing drugs. There was no family history of thrombosis or auto-immune disease. However, her tests for antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) were positive – strongly positive, and “triple-positive” (all three of the currently used aPL tests – aCL, LA and anti-β2 GP1 – were positive at high level). She was treated with Warfarin. Interestingly, the headaches which had been frequent (though ‘livable’) disappeared. The Warfarin continued, perhaps longer than usual, for a year. Miss G.L. raised two topics – marriage “in a year or two” and pregnancy, and the second concerning horse riding. She asked whether it was now safe to stop the Warfarin, prior to taking up horse riding again, or at least to convert to aspirin. What would you do? Perhaps not surprisingly, the three experts gave rather differing opinions. The first agreed with a change to aspirin. After all, this was a venous thrombosis and not arterial, and the risk of re-thrombosis on aspirin was small. The second expert discussed pregnancy. The treatment of pregnancy in Hughes Syndrome was becoming almost standardised worldwide, with low molecular weight heparin, plus or minus aspirin being first choice. The warfarin, if continued, could be changed to heparin as soon as the pregnancy test became positive. The third expert focused more on the primary thrombosis. This young woman in the prime of her life was at high risk unless treated. Although not universally accepted, a number of studies have suggested that “triple positive” aPL patients (aCL, LA and anti-β2 GP1 positive) have much stronger tendency to re-thrombose. Although Warfarin has a bad press, and interacts with many foods and drinks, it has three big pluses. Firstly, unlike many other anti-clotting treatments, its therapeutic dose can be closely controlled (many Hughes Syndrome patients living normal lives with the help of self-testing INR machines). Secondly, current experience suggests that Warfarin may be superior to newer anticoagulants (‘NOACS’) in severe APS (though admittedly, Miss G.L’s thrombosis was venous). The third specialist admitted that many of his Warfarin patients took part in horse riding (and other ‘contact’ sports) but he did recognise that, for some, the risk was too great. His rather brutal opinion was “keep the Warfarin, sell the horse”. PROFESSOR GRAHAM R V HUGHES MD FRCP Head of The London Lupus Centre London Bridge Hospital https://ghic.world/blog/july-2019
  11. Entry Requirements for Lupus Nephritis Clinical Trials Exclude Majority of Patients in UK Registry, Study Says JULY 10, 2019 BY IQRA MUMAL IN NEWS. Click Here to receive Lupus News via e-mail How clinical trials into lupus nephritis define their requirements for patient eligibility are too strict, leaving many people with active and severe disease ineligible for participation, according to a study that looked at six lupus trials and how well their “inclusion and exclusion criteria” matched patients in a large U.K. registry. Its researchers reported that a majority of registry patients, 50.6%, would not have been enrolled under published entry requirements. These findings were presented at the recent 2019 European Congress of Rheumatology(EULAR 2019), in a poster titled “How Well Do Clinical Trials Represent Real World Lupus Nephritis Patients?” Lupus nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) can be a serious complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The standard of care for lupus nephritis is treatment using glucocorticoids or conventional immunosuppressants. Rituxan (rituximab), an antibody that dampens some immune cells, has been used off-label to treat some with lupus nephritis, but has not shown efficacy across several clinical trials. Finding better treatments for these people requires clinical studies that determine safety and effectiveness. But stringent requirements for trial participation, often done to ensure patient homogeneity in the group studied, can result in criteria that does not accurately reflect real-world patients, the study notes. Researchers set out to evaluate clinical trial criteria for lupus nephritis by determining how closely they reflected a general population. They reviewed six recently published clinical trials involving these patients. Then they compared inclusion and exclusion criteria common across the trials to patients with active lupus nephritis in a U.K.-wide database of SLE patients called the BILAG-Biologics Register (BILAG-BR). Inclusion criteria define the characteristics that potential participants must have to be in a study, while exclusion criteria define those that disqualify from participation. The registry showed 259 people with active lupus nephritis, corresponding to 28.9% of its population. Among them, 230 had been treated with Rituxan, while the 29 others were given standard of care. Analysis showed that 70 people (30.4%) in the Rituxan group and 10 (34.5%) in the standard-of-care group that would not meet all inclusion criteria common to the six trials. The requirement that patients most often missed was not having a urine protein/creatinine ratio below 100 mg/mmol. This would exclude people with more severe kidney impairment. A majority, 118 patients or 51.3%, in the Rituxan group and six patients (20.7%) in standard-of-care also met one or more common exclusion criteria for the trials. Most often, the excluding criteria was active disease in the central nervous system and low levels of antibodies implying an immune system disorder (hypogammaglobulinaemia). Overall, more than half of registry patients (50.6%) with active lupus nephritis would not satisfy all inclusion and exclusion criteria, and likely be ineligible for clinical trial entry, the study found. Among patients deemed ineligible, those in the Rituxan group were younger (mean age, 36) compared to those given standard of care (mean age, 49). Most were also minorities (non-Caucasian) and female. “In a large national cohort of active LN [lupus nephritis] we found that 50.6% of patients would not be eligible for clinical trial entry using published entry criteria,” the researchers wrote. “This poses significant implications on the study of LN treatment in patients with more severe disease. When designing clinical trials, the stringency of eligibility criteria should be reviewed in order to provide greater representation of the target disease population,” they concluded. https://lupusnewstoday.com/2019/07/10/entry-criteria-for-lupus-nephritis-trials-exclude-majority-patients-in-uk-registry-study-finds/?utm_source=LUP+NEws+E-mail+List&utm_campaign=4dbb72aad6-RSS_WEEKLY_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_US&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_50dac6e56f-4dbb72aad6-71887989
  12. Medtronic Partners With Tel Aviv-Based Stroke Detection Startup Viz.ai by Meir Orbach / CTech An MRI of the human brain. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. CTech – Dublin-headquartered medical device maker Medtronic has signed a partnership agreement with stroke detection startup Viz.ai, the latter announced Monday. As part of the agreement, Medtronic will distribute Viz.ai’s technology in the US. The financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. Viz.ai develops deep learning and artificial intelligence-powered technology that can analyze brain scans and automatically transfer the information to a doctor to ensure the most immediate treatment for strokes. Viz.ai’s system connects to a hospital CT scanner and alerts the stroke specialist if a suspected large vessel occlusion (LVO) stroke has been identified, sending the radiological images directly to their smartphone. Based in San Francisco and Tel Aviv, Viz.ai was founded in 2016 after one of its founders, David Golan, suffered a brain event. The company has raised approximately $29 million to date. This is not Medtronic’s first dip in the Israeli tech pool. In September 2018, Medtronic acquired Israel-based surgical robotics company Mazor Robotics for $1.34 billion in cash. Earlier that year, it acquired medical visualization company Visionsense for $65 million. https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/07/22/medtronic-partners-with-tel-aviv-based-stroke-detection-startup-viz-ai/
  13. Understanding the Role of Polyautoimmunity in Rheumatic Diseases (©Zerbor,Shutterstock.com) Linda Peckel July 16, 2019 Rheumatology, Autoimmune Diseases, Modern Medicine News, News, Rheumatoid Arthritis An estimated 5 percent of the world’s population is diagnosed with one of a group of heterogeneous autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs) including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and Sjogren’s syndrome (SS). Not only do these diseases share mechanisms and risk factors, they are often comorbid conditions recognized as polyautoimmune (PolyA) manifestations of the same underlying dysfunction. Patients with SLE are frequently positive for anti-rheumatoid factor (RF) and less often for anti-citrullinated protein antibodies associated with RA, although less than 10% are diagnosed with concomitant SLE/RA, known as rhupus. Another 10% of SLE patients are recognized to have antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) although up to 54% have been shown to carry antibodies. Other PolyA’s may include SLE/hypothyroidism, RA/autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD), and concomitant symptoms of SS with SLE, AITD, or systemic sclerosis (SSc). According to studies by Gonzalez and colleagues (the most recent of which is published in the Journal of Autoimmunity)1 , 2 patterns of PolyA have emerged: 1) Overt PolyA, which reflects more than one well-defined ARD in a single patient, and 2) Latent PolyA, in which underlying patterns of autoantibodies are identified that do not correspond to the main diagnosis, and may be predictive of 1 or more additional ARDs. The authors conducted a cross-sectional cluster analysis of patients with the most common ARDs for antibody and cytokine patterns in a cohort of 187 individuals with diagnoses of SLE, RA, SSc, and SS (n = 70, 51, 35, and 31). They found that the frequency of PolyA did not differ across all 4 ARDs, although SLE and SS were associated with a younger age of onset. Rheumatoid factor and CCP3 were identified in 84.3% and76.5% of patients with RA, who also had the highest levels of Interleukin (IL)-6, interferon (IFN)-α, and IL-12/23p40 cytokines. Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) were most prevalent in patients with SSc (97% positive) and SLE patients (71.4%), with distinctive patterns of additional antibodies and cytokines to each disease. The study revealed six main PolyA clusters involving the 4 ARDs that may provide biomarkers useful for diagnosis of current disease as well as prediction of other ARDs over time. The authors suggested that particular attention should be paid to latent PolyA, and to the strong association of IL-12/23p40 to 3 of the 6 cluster groups. REFERENCE 1. Molano-González N, Rojas M, Monsalve DM. "Cluster analysis of autoimmune rheumatic diseases based on autoantibodies. New insights for polyautoimmunity." J Autoimmun 2019;98:24-32. https://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/rheumatology/understanding-role-polyautoimmunity-rheumatic-diseases?rememberme=1&elq_mid=7781&elq_cid=1830808&GUID=9D824BFE-EF27-47A3-BAE0-900DC34C90C7
  14. Fatigue in Patients with Lupus is Real Fatigue in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has been linked to anti-NR2 antibodies, which responds to treatment with belimumab, a study shows. (©ArtemidaPsy,Shutterstock.com) Whitney J. Palmer June 24, 2019 Lupus, Rheumatology, Women's Health Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who have higher levels of antibodies to the receptor in the brain associated with memory and learning also experience more severe levels of fatigue, new research shows. The results, published in a recent issue of Annals of Rheumat ic Diseases, identifies a link between fatigue—one of the most challenging symptoms patients with systemic lupus erythematosus face—and the presence of anti-NR2, a brain-reacting antibody. “The presence of anti-NR2 antibodies in patients with lupus with fatigue is a helpful diagnostic tool and may offer a major approach in the therapeutic management of this important disabling symptom in patients with lupus,” said Andreas Schwarting, M.D., a rheumatologist, immunologist, and medical director at the University Medical Center of the Johannesburg-Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany. Elevated levels of anti-NR2 have been reported in 25 percent to 38 percent of patients with lupus, they said, so these findings could affect a substantial number of patients. To determine the impact of these autoantibodies, researchers analyzed blood samples from 426 patients with lupus. They also assessed fatigue severity using a self-reporting questionnaire. The findings found that patients with higher anti-NR2 levels experienced the more significant impacts of fatigue, including motoric and cognitive fatigue. Researchers found no correlation between anti-NR2 levels and renal function, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, or C-reactive protein. Study results also showed belimumab effectively relieved fatigue. Patients receiving belimumab for six months to 36 months saw a significant decline in their levels of anti-NR2 antibodies, as well as a clinically significant drop in their fatigue scores. Overall, investigators said, the findings could directly impact patient care. “The results of our study offer a sustained clinical advantage: to add an objective measurement of fatigue in lupus patients to a subjective questionnaire,” they said. “Anti-NMDAR antibodies should be identified routinely for patients with lupus suffering from fatigue.” REFERENCE Schwarting A, Mockel T, Lutgendorf F, et al. "Fatigue in SLE: diagnostic and pathogenic impact of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) autoantibodies." Annals of Rheumatic Diseases(2019), doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2019-215098. https://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/lupus/fatigue-patients-lupus-real?rememberme=1&elq_mid=7437&elq_cid=1830808&GUID=9D824BFE-EF27-47A3-BAE0-900DC34C90C7
  15. Fracture Risk is High in Lupus Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are at an increased risk for fractures, new research shows. The risk is particularly high among patients with lupus nephritis. (©PollapatChirawongShutterstock.com) Whitney J. Palmer June 24, 2019 Lupus, Joint/Bone Health, News, Rheumatology Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are at an increased risk for fractures, new research shows. The risk is particularly high among patients with lupus nephritis. In a study published in a recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatology, investigators foiund that patients with lupus nephritis were far more likely to break a bone than patients who do not have lupus. “Patients with lupus nephritis may be at particularly high risk of fracture due to secondary or tertiary hyperparathyroidism and vitamin D deficiency,” said study author Sara Tedeschi, M.D., MPH, a rheumatology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. To assess fracture risk, researchers examined medical records for 47,709 lupus patients, including 9,449 patients who also had lupus nephritis. They identified pelvic, wrist, hip, and humeral fractures and compared these records to those of 190,836 patients without lupus. According to results, all lupus patients had a two-fold higher risk for any fracture compared to patients without lupus. Lupus nephritis patients have a three-fold risk over non-lupus patients and a 1.6-fold increase over lupus patients. However, findings did indicate that African American patients with lupus experienced a lower fracture risk than other study participants. When examining risk for specific types of fractures, investigators found lupus patients were at high risk for hip and pelvic fracture compared to patients without lupus. The risk was also elevated, though not as much, for humerus and wrist fractures. Researchers also discovered younger lupus patients had a 2.3-times higher fracture risk than younger patients who didn’t have lupus. Lupus patients over age 50 had a two-fold fracture risk increase. Less than half of patients with lupus received glucocorticoid treatment, indicating use of this medication was only responsible for some increased fracture risk. Ultimately, investigators said, these results reinforce the importance of identifying high-risk patients who have lupus and lupus nephritis to monitor them and provide for fracture prevention. REFERENCE Tedeschi S, Kim S, Guan H, Grossman J, Costenbader K. "Comparative Fracture Risks Among United States Medicaid Enrollees With and Those Without Systemic Lupus Erythematosus." Arthritis & Rheumatology (2019), doi: 10.1002/art.40818 https://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/lupus/fracture-risk-high-lupus?rememberme=1&elq_mid=7437&elq_cid=1830808&GUID=9D824BFE-EF27-47A3-BAE0-900DC34C90C7
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