The BSR Lupus guideline has expanded to include people of all ages

25 January 2024
Smiling nurse wearing stethoscope and holding chart

Article written by Lindsay Turner, Clinical Guidelines Programme Manager, BSR

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease treated across primary and secondary care, with symptoms affecting various parts of the body.  

The previous lupus guideline from the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) was published in 2017. Since then there have been rapid advances in the diagnosis, assessment, and therapeutic management of SLE, warranting this update.  

“There is a need for a consistent approach to the diagnosis and treatment of SLE across the UK to address various issues including inconsistency in diagnostics and access to treatment and how these result in inequity for people with SLE.”

Ed Vital, Guideline Working Group (GWG) Chair

BSR have now convened an expert multi-professional working group to conduct a robust literature review and develop evidence-based recommendations for management of SLE in people of all ages.

The scope for this work has now been published, outlining the population, key areas that will be covered and draft questions.  

A plain language summary accompanies the scope, particularly aimed at people with SLE. This offers a concise, plain English overview of what this guideline update will mean for patients.

Paul Howard, Chief Executive, LUPUS UK and GWG member said: “SLE is a life-long condition in which the immune system damages the body’s own tissues.

"People living with SLE typically have a significant role in managing and coordinating their healthcare, which can be shared between multiple specialties.

"This revised guideline will provide new tools to help patients understand what they should expect from their monitoring and treatment, providing additional confidence to ask important questions of their healthcare professionals.”

Paul Howard, Chief Executive of LUPUS UK and GWG member

Eve Smith, Paediatric Rheumatology Consultant leading the paediatric and adolescent sections of the guideline development said: “Juvenile-onset SLE (JSLE) tends to have a more aggressive presentation and disease course compared with adult-onset.

"Although SLE and JSLE are uncommon, they have substantial unmet needs since mortality is increased by about 18-fold in JSLE, and 3-fold in adult-onset SLE compared to the general population.

"I’m delighted that the BSR are extending the scope of this guideline to take a whole-life approach and the update will be welcomed by healthcare professionals, people with SLE, and young people living with JSLE alike.” 

The guideline will be developed using the methods and processes outlined in the Creating Clinical Guidelines: British Society for Rheumatology Protocol.