Objective: Optimal strategies for managing lupus medications after end-stage renal disease (ESRD) have not been addressed. The objective was to identify the current US-wide prescribing patterns of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and oral glucocorticoids (GS) among systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients with incident ESRD enrolled in the US Renal Data System (USRDS) registry. Methods: We identified incident ESRD patients age ≥18 years with SLE as a primary cause of ESRD between January 2006 and June 2013. Patients who were started on dialysis at ESRD onset and enrolled in Medicare Part D within 93 days as required by Medicare were included. Results: Among the 2,654 new-onset ESRD patients with Part D, the median duration of follow-up was 761 days (interquartile range [IQR] 374–1,375). At baseline, 1,076 patients (41%) were not receiving HCQ or GS, 220 (8%) were prescribed HCQ alone, 509 (19%) were prescribed both HCQ and GS, and 849 (32%) were prescribed GS alone. Of the 1,983 patients who either never received or discontinued HCQ after ESRD onset, 667 (34%) continued GS to the end of the follow-up period. The median GS dose was lower for patients taking HCQ (14 mg [IQR 9–21]) compared to patients who were never prescribed HCQ (15 mg [IQR 9–27]) or patients who discontinued HCQ after ESRD (17 mg [IQR 10–27]; P = 0.001). Conclusion: Approximately one-third of patients with lupus nephritis and new-onset ESRD received GS monotherapy at high doses. As GS-related complications contribute to hospitalizations and deaths in SLE ESRD, changing these prescribing practices may improve morbidity and mortality outcomes.
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