Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) appear to be more common in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) than in the general population and are associated with worse status on patient-reported outcomes (PROs), according to study results published in ACR Open Rheumatology.

While the risk of asthma and COPD may be elevated in SLE, there are little data on the effects of these conditions on SLE outcomes. Therefore, researchers examined the prevalence, incidence, and impact of self-reported asthma and COPD in two United States-based SLE cohorts (the FORWARD study and the Lupus Outcomes Study [LOS]). Cross-sectional associations of asthma/COPD with PROs, and longitudinal analyses associated with asthma/COPD at entry with PROs 3 years later were examined.

The researchers found that in the FORWARD study, 19.8% and 8.3% of participants reported asthma and COPD, respectively, at entry. In the LOS study, 36.0% reported the presence of either condition (US general population comparisons: asthma, 9.7%; COPD, 6.1%). Cross-sectionally, asthma/COPD was associated with worse PROs, including disease activity. In the FORWARD study, individuals with asthma experienced greater worsening of fatigue, pain, and global health ratings longitudinally, and individuals with COPD experienced greater increases in self-reported SLE activity. However, no such patterns were noted in the LOS cohort.

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“These findings suggest that health care providers should routinely screen individuals with SLE for asthma and COPD and ensure that they are receiving adequate treatment for those conditions,” concluded the authors. “In addition, counseling for smoking cessation and screening for occupational exposures that are linked to the development of pulmonary conditions is also advisable,” added the authors.

Disclosure: This study was supported by Bristol Myers Squibb. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.   


Katz P, Pedro S, Trupin L, Yelin E, Michaud K. The impact of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on patient-reported outcomes in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). ACR Open Rheumatol. Published online February 20, 2021. doi:10.1002/acr2.11212