Glucocorticoid use and factors associated with variability in this use in the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics Inception Cohort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives. To describe glucocorticoid (GC) use in the SLICC inception cohort and to explore factors associated with GC use. In particular we aimed to assess temporal trends in GC use and to what extent physician-related factors may influence use. Methods. Patients were recruited within 15 months of diagnosis of SLE from 33 centres between 1999 and 2011 and continue to be reviewed annually. Descriptive statistics were used to detail oral and parenteral GC use. Cross sectional and longitudinal analyses were performed to explore factors associated with GC use at enrolment and over time. Results. We studied 1700 patients with a mean (S.D.) follow-up duration of 7.26 (3.82) years. Over the entire study period, 1365 (81.3%) patients received oral GCs and 447 (26.3%) received parenteral GCs at some point. GC use was strongly associated with treatment centre, age, race/ethnicity, sex, disease duration and disease activity. There was no change in the proportion of patients on GCs or the average doses of GC used over time according to year of diagnosis. Conclusion. GCs remain a cornerstone in SLE management and there have been no significant changes in their use over the past 10-15 years. While patient and disease factors contribute to the variation in GC use, between-centre differences suggest that physician-related factors also contribute. Evidence-based treatment algorithms are needed to inform a more standardized approach to GC use in SLE.


  • Jayne Little
  • Ben Parker
  • Mark Lunt
  • John G. Hanly
  • Murray B. Urowitz
  • Ann E. Clarke
  • Juanita Romero-Diaz
  • Caroline Gordon
  • Sang Cheol Bae
  • Sasha Bernatsky
  • Daniel J. Wallace
  • Joan T. Merrill
  • Jill Buyon
  • David A. Isenberg
  • Anisur Rahman
  • Ellen M. Ginzler
  • Michelle Petri
  • Mary Anne Dooley
  • Paul Fortin
  • Dafna D. Gladman
  • Kristjan Steinsson
  • Rosalind Ramsey-Goldman
  • Munther A. Khamashta
  • Cynthia Aranow
  • Meggan Mackay
  • Graciela S. Alarcón
  • Susan Manzi
  • Asad A. Zoma
  • Ronald F. van Vollenhoven
  • Manuel Ramos-Casals
  • Guillermo Ruiz-Irastorza
  • Sung Sam Lim
  • Kenneth C. Kalunian
  • Murat Inanc
  • Diane L. Kamen
  • Christine A. Peschken
  • Soren Jacobsen
  • Anca Askanase
  • Jorge Sanchez-Guerrero
  • Ian N. Bruce
External organisations
  • University of Manchester
  • Christie NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dalhousie University
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Calgary
  • Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición
  • University of Birmingham
  • City Hospital, Birmingham
  • Hanyang University
  • McGill University Health Center
  • Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
  • University College London
  • State University of New York Downstate Medical Center
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • University of North Carolina
  • Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec
  • National University Hospital of Iceland
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
  • University of Alabama
  • Allegheny Health Network
  • Hairmyres Hospital
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Hospital Clínic of Barcelona
  • University of the Basque Country
  • Emory University
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • University of Manitoba
  • Copenhagen University Hospital
  • NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • New York University
  • King's College London
  • University of California, San Diego
  • Istanbul University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity


  • Epidemiology, Glucocorticoids, Systemic lupus erythematosus
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-687
Number of pages11
JournalRheumatology (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 1
Publication categoryResearch