Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidney that is caused by systemic lupus erythematous (SLE). Also called lupus, SLE is an autoimmune disease. With lupus, the body's immune system targets its own body tissues. Lupus nephritis happens when lupus involves the kidneys. In addition to an ACE inhibitor or an ARB, a diuretic—a medication that helps the kidneys remove fluid from the body—may be prescribed. Beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and other blood pressure medications may also be needed.
Of 136 patients with a biopsy sample, the distribution was as follows: class II in 22, class III in 36, class IV in 61, class V in 16, and class VI in 1. Survival with normal renal function was 84%, 69%, and 57% at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively; in the worst-case scenario, survival was 77%, 63%, and 51%, respectively. There was no difference in survival by histologic class; however, nonbiopsied patients had lower survival. Renal survival was 91%, 81%, and 76% at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively
People with lupus nephritis that is causing high blood pressure may need to take medications that lower their blood pressure and can also significantly slow the progression of kidney disease. Two types of blood pressure lowering medications, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), have proven effective in slowing the progression of kidney disease. Many people require two or more medications to control their blood pressure.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) sponsors several programs aimed at better understanding all types of kidney disease, including lupus nephritis. Abatacept and Cyclophosphamide Combination Therapy for Lupus Nephritis, funded under NIH clinical trial number NCT00774852, compares the addition of the experimental medication abatacept to standard cyclophosphamide therapy with cyclophosphamide therapy alone for treatment of lupus nephritis.