The past few decades have witnessed development and validation of indices to assess activity, damage, and quality of life (QoL) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). These indices are widely used in clinical research and randomised controlled clinical trials, but not in usual clinical care. Definitions of flares and response to therapy have been proposed on the basis of indices. However, criteria for disease remission have not been clearly established for these indices, except for the SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI). Defining remission in SLE in an objective manner depends on reaching agreement on the relative importance of systemic activity, damage, QoL, and laboratory tests, as well as activity and damage of specific organs.