, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 283-290
Date: 17 May 2011

Treatment of Lupus Nephritis

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The treatment of lupus nephritis has evolved over the past few decades. Standard practice is to define the first 6 months of therapy as an induction phase, during which the goal of therapy is to achieve renal remission, usually with bolus intravenous infusions of the cytotoxic cyclophosphamide or the immunosuppressant mycophenolate mofetil (MMF). Following induction, therapy is continued, with some decrease in aggressive dosing for a more prolonged period of time—typically 24 months—that is aimed at preventing renal flares and smoldering disease, which could lead to continuous deterioration of renal function. During maintenance, the usual therapeutic option is immunosuppression with MMF or azathioprine. In recent years, MMF has been increasingly replacing intravenous cyclophosphamide as an initial standard of care. The current paper reviews data on these treatment strategies and suggests a possible treatment algorithm for clinical care.