OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare patient and physician (MD) assessment of disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus patients. METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted between August 2016 and December 2017 at 2 Peruvian hospitals. One group assessed disease activity using a visual analog scale (VAS, 0-100 mm) and the other one using a numerical rating scale (NRS, 0-4), before and after their MD's visit. MDs assessed it with the Mexican Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity (Mex-SLEDAI) (0-32) and with the SLICC/ACR Damage Index (SDI) for damage. Health-related quality of life was ascertained with the LupusQoL. Visual analog scale and NRS were compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test and the correlation between disease activity as assessed by the patient and the Mex-SLEDAI, SDI, and LupusQoL with the Spearman rank correlation. RESULTS: Two hundred forty patients were included; mean (SD) age at diagnosis was 34.9 (12.9) years; most patients were Mestizo. Disease duration was 10.1 (7.0) years. The Mex-SLEDAI was 1.9 (2.7) and the SDI 1.2 (1.5). Disease activity as assessed by the patient, either by VAS or NRS, did not correlate with the Mex-SLEDAI or the SDI. In contrast, patient assessment of disease activity, by VAS or NRS, significantly correlated with several components of the LupusQoL (physical health, pain, planning, emotional health, and fatigue). CONCLUSIONS: Physician's and patient's assessments of disease activity are discrepant; overall, patients score higher than their MDs. Patients score how they perceive the disease is affecting them, rather than disease activity per se. The VAS could be more useful than the NRS as a measurement of disease activity.