Mycophenolate mofetil in the treatment of lupus nephritis
Patrick FK Yong1,2, David P D’Cruz2
1Department of Clinical Immunology, Kings College Hospital; 2The Lupus Research Unit, St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK
Abstract: Lupus nephritis is a complication of systemic lupus erythematosus, which has significant morbidity and mortality. The accepted standard of treatment for severe lupus nephritis is cyclophosphamide for induction of remission. This has significant adverse effects including severe infection and amenorrhea. In addition, although cyclophosphamide induces remission, long-term mortality does not seem to be altered. Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is an immunosuppressive agent originally used in solid organ transplantation, which has been compared with cyclophosphamide in trials for lupus nephritis. Randomized trials with MMF have been relatively small, although pooled data seem to suggest that it is at least as effective as cyclophosphamide in inducing remission. In addition, MMF has also been associated with a reduced risk of infection and amenorrhea, although this finding is not universal. MMF appears to be associated with more diarrhea compared with cyclophosphamide. MMF is likely to be a useful treatment for lupus nephritis, although available trial data are limited due to the small size of previous studies. A large trial (the Aspreva Lupus Management Study) is currently underway to attempt to establish the place of MMF in treatment of lupus nephritis.
Keywords: mycophenolate mofetil, lupus nephritis, systemic lupus erythematosus
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