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GSK’s new global survey exposes lupus treatment gaps

The findings show opportunities to address organ damage risk for early stage lupus patients

GSK

In a new global survey, conducted by Material on behalf of GSK, it has been found that out of the 648 healthcare professionals (HCPs) involved, around 44% noted the COVID-19 pandemic, and other factors, as inhibiting some patients living with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) from receiving expert care.

HCPs were surveyed across France, Spain, Germany, Canada, China and Japan between July and September 2022.

The survey was created as a means of exploring the attitudes and practices of HCPs in the treatment of their patients with SLE, including those diagnosed with lupus nephritis (LN), with a focus on topics related to disease modification in lupus, as well as organ damage.

For those diagnosed with SLE, the autoimmune disease causes the immune system to destroy its own tissues, leading to increased inflammation and significant tissue damage.

This risk of organ damage can occur in up to 48% of lupus patients, typically during the first five years of diagnosis. Lupus flares are known to increase the patient’s susceptibility to organ damage, meaning that delays in care can be critical. LN is one of the most common complications of SLE, occurring as an inflammation of the kidneys, and can lead to kidney failure.

In its survey, GSK reported that the HCPs involved – ranging from rheumatologists, nephrologists and internal medicine experts – mentioned 23% of their patients had experienced an increase in lupus flares compared to their experience pre-COVID-19, largely as a consequence of lockdowns impacting their ability to attend regular GP appointments.

In addition, HCPs cited issues in ascertaining which patients are at the highest risk for organ damage, with 79% asking for more effective ways to measure disease activity, and 80% requiring an easy way to identify which patients are deemed to be at significant risk for organ damage.

Meanwhile, 46% of HCPs noted that they only discuss the risk of organ damage once patients present with symptoms of organ damage, with 65% typically waiting for over a year post-diagnosis before discussing the risk of organ damage with patients.

Around 78% of HCPs commented that data demonstrating the benefits of different therapies for patients at risk of organ damage would be useful.

The current standard of care (SOC) regimen – anti-malarial medicines, steroids and immunosuppressants – was brought up by around 72% of HCPs, who said such measures can sufficiently reduce the risk of long-term organ damage for most lupus patients.

Despite this, research identifies that SOC, which includes the aforementioned regimen, does not prevent organ damage in a significant number of patients and instead, steroids may actually contribute to it.

Dr Roger Levy, GSK global medical expert, immunology and specialty medicine said: “The survey results highlight that, as we emerge from the pandemic, there are critical opportunities to drive proactive conversations about organ damage risk and how to align the short and long-term treatment goals.”

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

30th November 2022

From: Research

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