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Powerful 3-Drug Combination Seen as Effective Against Lupus Nephritis

Elizabeth Savage

One of the most common - and most severe - lupus related complications is kidney infection, known in the medical community as lupus nephritis. Nephritis sometimes affects kidney functions so severely that patients need kidney transplants. According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 60% of lupus patients eventually develop nephritis.

But a new study has given new hope to nephritis sufferers. A 3-drug combination given to patients in the study produced starkly better results than a common single-drug treatment.

In a trial of more than 300 Chinese patients with the condition, known as lupus nephritis, those who were given a trio of powerful drugs were more likely to see a complete remission. After six months, 46 percent were in full remission, versus 26 percent of patients given an intravenous drug called cyclophosphamide. [...]

In the new study .. [Researchers] randomly assigned patients with lupus nephritis to one of two groups: One received monthly infusions of cyclophosphamide, plus oral steroid medication to ease their kidney inflammation; the other received oral steroids, along with two immune-suppressing medications -- MMF and tacrolimus.

After six months, 46 percent of patients on the drug trio were in complete remission, and 84 percent had at least a partial response -- meaning their kidney function had improved, according to the study.

In contrast, just under 26 percent of patients on cyclophosphamide were in complete remission. And 63 percent had at least a partial response, the researchers found.

Study authors cautioned that while the results are optimistic, further research remains to be done to confirm the effectiveness of the treatment among non-Chinese ethnic groups, among other things.


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