How Is Lupus Nephritis Treated?

While there is no treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for lupus nephritis at this time, commonly used unapproved medications may include:

  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are used to stop inflammation of the kidneys.
  • Immunosuppressive therapies: These work by suppressing the immune system to keep it from attacking and damaging your kidneys.

Aurinia does not promote or support the use of unapproved therapies for treatment of lupus nephritis.

Use of Chemotherapy Drugs in Lupus Nephritis

Potent immunosuppressive therapies that are used as chemotherapy drugs for cancers can also play a role in treating aggressive or more severe lupus nephritis. These drugs, which are often given intravenously, may be used in combination with corticosteroids until symptoms go into remission.

Aurinia does not promote or support the use of unapproved therapies for treatment of lupus nephritis.

Use of High Blood Pressure Medicines in Lupus Nephritis

Because lupus nephritis can also cause high blood pressure in some people, your healthcare provider may give you one or more blood pressure medicines. These medications may not only lower blood pressure, but may also slow the progression of kidney (renal) disease. Common blood pressure medicines include:

  • ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): these may help protect your kidneys, slowing the progression of kidney disease.
  • Diuretics: these help the kidneys remove fluid from your body.
  • Beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or other blood pressure medications may also be needed.

Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

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Your Lupus Nephritis Treatment

The types of treatments that you are prescribed by your doctor may depend on a number of factors, including the results of your kidney biopsy (which inform your stage or class of lupus nephritis) as well as your previous treatment history or ethnicity. People with classes 1 or 2 lupus nephritis may receive a more conservative treatment regimen that focuses mainly on controlling blood pressure and protecting kidney function. Treatment for classes 1 or 2 is not likely to involve immunosuppressive therapy unless such therapy is required to manage non-kidney-related symptoms associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Other classes of lupus nephritis may call for a combination of the other therapies described in this section.

Ask your doctor about the treatment plan that is right for you.

Goals of Treatment for Lupus Nephritis

The main goals of treatment are to:

  • Control kidney inflammation and help preserve kidney health.
  • Reduce treatment-related side effects.
  • Prevent flare-ups of lupus nephritis symptoms.

Early diagnosis and treatment may help prevent long-term kidney damage. It is also important when taking treatment to monitor your dose of steroids and to work with your rheumatologist and/or nephrologist to manage the amount of protein in your urine (proteinuria).

Be sure to talk to your doctor(s) if you have any questions.

One study found that after 24 weeks of treatment, 9 out of 10 people still showed signs of kidney disease. Fortunately, clinical trials for new potential treatments specific to lupus nephritis are underway and may one day offer hope of new treatments for patients. Learn more about clinical trials for the potential treatment of lupus nephritis.

Aurinia Completes Clinical Trial Enrollment

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals has completed enrollment for its clinical trial in lupus nephritis ahead of schedule. Results from this trial are expected by the end of 2019.

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