Treatment of Proliferative and Membranous Lupus Nephritis: Review of Key Clinical Trials

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Lupus nephritis (LN) is a common complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Renal involvement in SLE is heterogeneous; therefore, the treatment of LN is determined by the pathological type of LN and ranges from nonspecific measures such as maintenance of adequate blood pressure control and blockade of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system to the use of immunosuppressive medications. Cyclophosphamide in combination with prednisone has been the standard of care for the treatment of proliferative forms of LN. However, the high rates of progression to end-stage renal disease coupled with adverse side effects from cyclophosphamide and prednisone administration have lead to an intensive search for more effective and less toxic therapies for LN. The authors review available treatment options for proliferative and membranous LN and summarize the results of recently published clinical trials that add new perspectives to the management of kidney disease in SLE.

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