Trends in the Outpatient Medication Management of Lupus Erythematosus in the United States
May 2014 | Volume 13 | Issue 5 | Original Article | 545 | Copyright © May 2014
Daniel Y. Sugai MD,a Cheryl J. Gustafson MD,a Jacqueline F. De Luca MD,a Scott A. Davis MA,aJoseph L. Jorizzo MD,a Kenneth S. O'Rourke MD,b and Steven R. Feldman MD PhDa,c,d
aCenter for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC bCenter for Dermatology Research, Department of Internal Medicine (section on Rheumatology and Immunology), Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC cDepartment of Pathology Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC dPublic Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
OBJECTIVE: The objectives for this study were to evaluate trends in the medications prescribed for the management of lupus erythematosus (LE) and to assess how treatment varies among different specialists.
METHODS: Outpatient visits for treatment of lupus and its comorbidities were identified in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), a representative survey of visits to physician offices in the United States. Data was evaluated to determine patient demographics, treatments prescribed by each specialty, and comorbidities encountered during the study period of 1993-2010.
RESULTS: From 1993-2004, prednisone was the most frequently prescribed medication; however, prednisone became the second most frequently prescribed medication in 2005-2010, as hydroxychloroquine became the leading medication prescribed for LE. In primary care physicians and other non-dermatology specialists, the most frequently prescribed medications for lupus were prednisone and hydroxychloroquine; whereas, hydroxychloroquine and triamcinolone were the top two medications preferred by dermatologists.
LIMITATIONS: The NAMCS collects cross-sectional data, such that individual patients cannot be followed over time. Hence, it does not provide data regarding the incidence of disease, patient age at the time of diagnosis, change in individual patient’s medication regimens over time, or prognosis related to patient demographics. In addition, it is possible that the physician did not always record nonprescription medication use, such as NSAIDS, since these are typically used first line.
CONCLUSION: First-line treatment of LE changed minimally from 1993 to 2010, with prednisone and hydroxychloroquine serving as the primary medications utilized by most physicians for the management of LE.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2014;13(5):545-552.