Updates on the treatment of lupus nephritis.

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The treatment of lupus nephritis has changed significantly over the past decade in large part because of data from well-conducted randomized clinical trials. The concept of two phases of therapy-induction and maintenance-is widely accepted. The histopathologic classification of lupus nephritis continues to guide therapy, and treatment for all major classes of lupus nephritis has seen some shift in management during this time. New regimens using lower doses and shorter treatment durations of intravenous cyclophosphamide have been advanced to reduce toxicity without sacrificing efficacy of therapy. Mycophenolate mofetil has emerged as a viable alternative to cyclophosphamide for induction therapy of both proliferative and membranous lupus nephritis. Combination induction treatment with multiple agents has also been successful. Large controlled trials using mycophenolate mofetil and azathioprine for maintenance therapy have been performed. Here, we review recent additions to the growing body of literature on how to most effectively treat lupus nephritis with the least amount of toxicity. We discuss new treatment strategies currently being explored in clinical trials.

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