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Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013 Jan;8(1):162-71. doi: 10.2215/CJN.03640412. Epub 2012 Aug 23.

Lupus nephritis: maintenance therapy for lupus nephritis--do we now have a plan?

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  • 1Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


Lupus nephritis (LN) increases the morbidity and mortality of patients with SLE. This review compares the randomized, controlled trials that examined various maintenance regimens available to treat LN. Currently, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and azathioprine (AZA) are the most popular therapeutic agents used for long-term maintenance of LN. Long-term maintenance with MMF is recommended as the first choice after achieving remission with cyclophosphamide or MMF induction. MMF is effective in consolidating remission and preventing relapse and CKD in patients of diverse races and ethnicities. Long-term maintenance with AZA is the recommended second choice, especially when patients develop intolerance of or contraindications to MMF. Azathioprine is particularly effective in consolidating remission and preventing relapse and CKD in patients who receive an induction regimen of cyclophosphamide. To date, there are no data on how rapidly maintenance therapies can be withdrawn; however, it is recommended that the immunosuppressive therapy be maintained indefinitely, unless it is contraindicated, in patients at high risk for progression to CKD.

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