The socioeconomic burden of systemic lupus erythematosus: state-of-the-art and prospects.
ABSTRACT Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypical, autoimmune, multisystem disease characterized by chronic inflammation in multiple organs. SLE can cause significant and potentially irreversible morbidity, stemming from the relapsing-remitting disease course, the undesirable changes in appearance and the side effects of medication. The prolonged life expectancy and increased prevalence of SLE have imposed challenges on the healthcare system. There is concern that the growing costs of healthcare are becoming unaffordable. Cost analyses evaluating the economic burden of SLE are imperative. This review will summarize the current state-of-the-art regarding the economic burden of SLE and discuss how it could affect clinical and political decisions. Several methodological considerations and unsolved issues will also be emphasized.