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Lupus Program

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE, or lupus) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system causes inflammation in the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, and other internal organs. Yale Medicine’s lupus program provides unparalleled access to rheumatologists who are experts in the care and treatment of patients with lupus, as well as the most up-to-date information to promote patients’ well-being.

Our Team

Our rheumatologists coordinate care with experts in a wide range of other specialties to provide comprehensive, multifaceted evaluation and treatment plans. Lupus researchers are also an important part of our program, with the goal of advancing the treatment and understanding of this complex disease.

Our program is directed by Fotios Koumpouras, MD, who has conducted extensive research on lupus, serves as principal investigator for several active clinical trials in SLE at Yale, and developed and is principal investigator for the Yale Rheumatology BioRepository. Many patients of Dr. Koumpouras and other Yale Medicine rheumatologists travel long distances for their expertise and understanding of lupus, and with telemedicine, they can continue their treatment at Yale even if they live far away.

Our Approach

With sites on the Yale New Haven Health (YNHH) Saint Raphael Campus and the YNHH Interventional Immunology Center at North Haven, the Yale Lupus Program provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment of patients, and education about the disease for patients and their family members. The program provides multidisciplinary evaluations by rheumatologists and experts in a wide range of specialties, including dermatology, nephrology, maternal-fetal medicine, neurology, pulmonary medicine, and cardiology. The program also features:

  • A state-of-the art Infusion Center for administration of the most up-to-date therapies.
  • A Lupus Wellness Program. Lupus can be a complicated condition to understand, and education is the first step in empowering people to be an active part of their treatment decisions and improve the quality of their life.
  • A Transition Program for young adults with lupus that works toward each person’s individual goals, emphasizing education and shared decision-making.

One of the unique aspects of our lupus program is a combined Rheumatology–Dermatology Clinic—the first of its kind in Connecticut—where our renowned experts in those two fields work together to provide diagnosis, second opinions, and treatment planning. Rashes or skin lesions may be among the first symptoms of lupus, and dermatologists are often the first doctors to see signs of the disease. Overall, 66% of people with lupus will develop some form of skin disease. By seeing patients together, our experts in dermatology and rheumatology combine resources for a more integrated and holistic approach to this complex illness.

In another interdisciplinary collaboration, Dr. Koumpouras is working with Yale Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences to study and treat issues such as higher rates of endometriosis in lupus patients and increased risk of Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI).

Yale Medicine also has an active portfolio of clinical trials in lupus, and is a key member of the Lupus Clinical Investigator Network. As a result, patients in our program have access to novel, cutting-edge therapies under investigation and the opportunity to participate in clinical research studies, as we work to advance our understanding of lupus, its many manifestations, and the most up-to-date treatments.