Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) is an autoimmune, inflammatory skin disease seen in patients with or without systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The management of CLE includes treatment and prevention of lesions, as well as routine assessment for systemic disease. Treatment options include both topical and systemic therapies. Topical therapies include corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors. Systemic therapies generally fall under one of three categories: antimalarials, immunomodulators, such as dapsone and thalidomide, and immunosuppressives, such as methotrexate and mycophenolate. Evidence for the treatment of CLE is limited by few prospective studies, as well as lack of a validated outcome measure up until recently. There is good evidence to support the use of topical steroids and calcineurin inhibitors, though most of these trials have not used placebo or vehicle controls. There have been no randomized placebo-controlled trials evaluating systemic therapies for the treatment of CLE.
Keywords: cutaneous lupus erythematosus, topical steroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors, antimalarials, immunomodulators, immunosuppressives, Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index (CLASI)