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Revista Uruguaya de Medicina Interna

Print version ISSN 2393-6797On-line version ISSN 2393-6797


DANZA, Alvaro et al. Glucocorticoids related damage in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: an early and harmful association. An exploratory analysis. Rev. Urug. Med. Int. [online]. 2021, vol.6, n.1, pp.14-23.  Epub Mar 01, 2021. ISSN 2393-6797.


Persistent activity causes irreversible organ damage in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Permanent damage can be attributed to the disease and to the treatment, particularly glucocorticoids. We aimed to know the relationship between the presence of organ damage and the exposure to glucocorticoids (GCC).


A non-probabilistic retrospective study of patients with SLE was performed. Demographic variables, activity levels, initial, accumulated prednisone dose and damage measured by "SLICC Damage Index (SDI)" at various stages from the diagnosis of the disease, were analyzed. Damage was classified in related and not related to GCC.


Thirty patients were analyzed, all women. The mean follow-up was 155 (SD: 127) months. At the end of follow-up 13/30 (43.3%) patients presented organ damage. Patients who had GCC-related damage at the end of follow-up had a significantly higher mean starting dose of prednisone, 53.3 (SD: 10.3) mg/d vs. 28.3 (SD: 24) mg/d, p <0.05. The effect on damage was observed with prednisone starting dose greater than 30 mg/d, regardless of the level of activity at the onset of the disease, OR 2.05 (CI 95% 1.5 - 4.0). Cumulative doses of prednisone at one year greater than 3000 mg, were related to GCC-related damage at the end of the follow-up (p < 0.05).


There is an accrual of damage over time associated to glucocorticoids exposure. It is highlighted that the relationship is early, that is, the starting dose will probably signify the accumulation of damage, especially in glucocorticoid-related domains, regardless of activity levels.

Keywords : Systemic lupus erythematosus; Glucocorticoids; Treatment safety; Chronic damage.

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