• SLE;
  • genetics;
  • lupus;
  • SLE treatment;
  • SLE management


Purpose: To review the symptom presentation, genetic aspects, and available treatment options for individuals diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Primary care providers should be vigilant in identifying symptoms, which may be related to SLE, perform adequate assessment, and diagnostic testing in order to arrive at an early diagnosis.

Data sources: Extensive literature review of textbook, clinical, medical, and nursing journals.

Conclusions: Lupus is a multigenic autoimmune disease, which requires the clinician to be hypervigilant by collecting a thorough family history and performing a complete physical assessment of the patient. There is an array of treatment modalities, both experimental and proven therapies, which improve signs and symptoms associated with SLE. Numerous medications are available for symptom management: anti-inflammatory agents for patients with musculoskeletal presentation, and steroids or antimalarials for those with more extensive organ involvement.

Implications for practice: In SLE, the overall aim of management is to determine the extent of disease and prevent extensive organ involvement. Therefore, when diagnosed in a timely manner, most patients will survive and are able to manage their disease.