Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus: Review and Considerations for Older Populations

Briana Heinly, Astia Allenzara, Matthew Helm, Galen T. Foulke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Though more common earlier in life, increasing attention is being focused on the development of cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) in patients with advancing age. Studies show that CLE is more common in older populations than previously thought, and all CLE subtypes are possible in this group. Just like patients in the third or fourth decade of life, CLE may appear alongside or independent of systemic lupus erythematosus. Older populations manifesting CLE for the first time seem to have a lower risk of progression to systemic disease than younger peers, and are more commonly White. CLE must be carefully distinguished from other skin conditions that have a predilection for presentation in older populations, including rosacea, lichen planus, and other autoimmune conditions such as dermatomyositis or pemphigus/pemphigoid. It is thought that most CLE in older populations is drug-induced, with drug-induced subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus being the most common subtype. Management of CLE in older patients focuses on eliminating unnecessary medications known to induce CLE, and otherwise treatment proceeds similarly to that in younger patients, with a few special considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalDrugs and Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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