Diagnosis and management of patients with neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE)

David Hermosillo-Romo, Robin L. Brey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE) involves a wide range of focal and diffuse central and peripheral nervous system disorders and affects up to 75% of SLE patients. NPSLE can occur any time in the course of SLE, even during periods in which no SLE disease activity is detected, and is likely to be caused by multiple factors, including autoantibody production, microvasculopathy and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Central to the diagnosis of NPSLE is the question of whether the presenting neuropsychiatric symptoms are due to SLE-mediated organ dysfunction, infection, medication side-effects or metabolic abnormalities (e.g. uraemia), or are due to an unrelated condition. The diagnostic inference of NPSLE can be made only after these secondary causes have been excluded. There is no one single diagnostic tool specific to NPSLE, and clinical diagnostic impressions must be based on the combined use of immunoserological testing, functional and/or structural neuroimaging and standardized neurological, rheumatological, psychiatric and neuropsychological assessments. The management of NPSLE includes symptomatic and/or immunosuppressive treatment strategies depending on the specific presenting neuropsychiatric symptoms and whether these occur in the setting of an SLE disease activity flare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-244
Number of pages16
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Antiphospholipid antibodies
  • Immunosuppressive treatment
  • Neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE)
  • Treatment of neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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