Cyclosporine A vs. methylprednisolone for Henoch–Schönlein nephritis: a randomized trial
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Knowledge about how to treat severe Henoch–Schönlein nephritis (HSN) is scarce. The aim of our study is to compare cyclosporine A (CyA) and methylprednisolone pulses (MP) in the treatment of severe HSN. Out of 24 pediatric HSN patients with nephrotic-range proteinuria or crescentic HSN in kidney biopsy, seven were randomized to receive CyA for 12 months at an initial dose of 5 mg/kg and eight to receive 3 MP pulses of 30 mg/kg followed by prednisone for 4 months. The other nine patients received identical treatment without randomization. Kidney biopsies were performed at inclusion and after 2 years. The primary outcomes were the duration of proteinuria and hematuria, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and renal biopsy histology. All the 11 CyA-treated patients achieved resolution of nephrotic-range proteinuria within 3 months, while the MP-group response was slower, and in 6/13 was not achieved with the initial treatment. Additional immunosuppressive treatment was needed in none of the CyA-treated patients but in six patients treated with MP (difference in proportion 46%, p = 0.008). The 2-year control biopsies were similarly improved in both groups. After mean 6.1 years (2.2–10.4 years), 16 patients (eight CyA, eight MP) had no renal symptoms and six (three CyA, three MP) had persistent nephropathy but normal renal function. One MP-treated patient had reduced renal function and another had developed ESRD and received a renal transplant. CyA gave a 100% resolution of nephrotic-range proteinuria and a 100% renal survival rate without additional therapy after a mean follow-up of 6 years. Treatment of HSN with CyA is efficacious, safe and not inferior to MP.
KeywordsVasculitis Glomerulonephritis Immunosuppressive treatment Proteinuria Hematuria Biopsy Outcome
The following institutions and investigators participated in the study: Central Finland Central Hospital: A. Nuuja, Kainuu Central Hospital: P. Varimo, Lapland Central Hospital: R. Jauhola, Mikkeli Central Hospital: S. Kinnunen, North Karelia Central Hospital: J. Korhonen, Turku University Hospital: J. Kataja, and Åland Central Hospital: C. Johansson. We also thank Mr. Juha Turtinen, MSc for helping with the statistical analyses.
Statement of competing financial interests
The study was supported financially by the Alma and K. A. Snellman Foundation, Oulu, Finland, the Foundation for Pediatric Research, and the Finnish Kidney Foundation. None of the authors have any conflicts of interest.
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