To understand the epidemiology, current treatment, and disease burden of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in the Asia Pacific region (APAC).A targeted literature review of published evidence on SLE in APAC was conducted, using the MEDLINE® database (2008–2018), conference proceedings, and other supplementary sources.

The review identified 70 studies conducted in China (n=15), Japan (n=13), Taiwan (n=12), Korea (n=9), Australia (n=7), Hong Kong (n=6), Singapore (n=4), and multiple places within the APAC region (n=4). Incidence rates (per 100,000 per year) ranged from 0.9‐8.4, while prevalence rates ranged from 3.7‐127 (per 100,000); however, recent data was limited. Asian SLE patients were reported to have higher disease severity, activity (higher SLE disease activity index scores), and organ damage accrual, along with increased morbidity, mortality, and susceptibility to renal involvement compared with other ethnicities in APAC. The risk of developing SLE is higher in the Asian population. Routinely used SLE therapies included belimumab, hydroxychloroquine, cyclophosphamide, tacrolimus, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil corticosteroids; however, prescribing patterns varied across the region. Increased disease activity was associated with the high economic burden and poor quality of life for SLE patients in APAC.

SLE remains a disease with a significant unmet medical need for an innovative therapy that is well‐tolerated and effective for APAC patients. Further evidence is required to characterize the disease better and fully capture the burden and impact of SLE in APAC. This review has highlighted where there is a paucity of data from patients across the APAC region.