subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus

Last reviewed 01/2018

This form of LE comprises up to 10% of SLE cases and is characterised by the presence of persistent macular or slightly raised erythematous lesions on the upper trunk and arms. Females are affected more than males.


  • circulating anti-Ro, anti-La antibodies and rheumatoid factor may be found.
  • mild hypocomplimentaemia.


  • tends to be benign - life-threatening systemic involvement tends to be uncommon.


  • topical steroids and intralesional steroids.
  • if topical therapy is not sufficient then alternatives include:
    • prednisolone and cytotoxic drugs
    • other antimalarial drugs eg mepacrine. Mepacrine may be used in combination with hydroxychloroquine