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Medications for Lupus Nephritis

Lupus nephritis is a type of kidney disease caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or lupus, a chronic, autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's tissues, causing inflammation and organ damage. Lupus is characterized by painful or swollen joints, muscle pain, extreme fatigue, unexplained fever, and reddish skin rashes.

The causes of lupus are unknown but are thought to be associated with environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors.

Lupus is much more common in women than in men and most often strikes during the childbearing years. Lupus is also more common in people of African, Asian, and Hispanic backgrounds.

Up to half of adult lupus patients will go on to develop kidney inflammation (lupus nephritis) within the first six months to three years of their diagnosis. Symptoms of lupus nephritis may include foamy urine and edema, and possibly high blood pressure. It is diagnosed through urine and blood tests and a kidney biopsy.

Lupus nephritis may get progressively worse, and if poorly controlled can lead to kidney failure, which may eventually require renal dialysis or a transplant.

Treatments for lupus nephritis include immunosuppressive drugs such as glucocorticoids, cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate, and azathioprine. Belimumab and voclosporin are FDA-approved specifically for lupus nephritis.

Drugs used to treat Lupus Nephritis

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rating Reviews Activity ? Rx/OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol
prednisone Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: prednisone systemic

Drug class: glucocorticoids

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Lupkynis Rate Add review
Rx N

Generic name: voclosporin systemic

Drug class: calcineurin inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

mycophenolate mofetil Off-label Rate Add review
Rx D N

Generic name: mycophenolate mofetil systemic

Drug class: selective immunosuppressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off-label: Yes

Benlysta Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: belimumab systemic

Drug class: selective immunosuppressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

belimumab Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: belimumab systemic

Brand name:  Benlysta

Drug class: selective immunosuppressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph

azathioprine Off-label Rate Add review
Rx D N

Generic name: azathioprine systemic

Drug class: antirheumatics, other immunosuppressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off-label: Yes

voclosporin Rate Add review
Rx N

Generic name: voclosporin systemic

Brand name:  Lupkynis

Drug class: calcineurin inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph

cyclophosphamide Off-label Rate Add review
Rx D N

Generic name: cyclophosphamide systemic

Drug class: alkylating agents

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off-label: Yes

methylprednisolone Off-label Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: methylprednisolone systemic

Drug class: glucocorticoids

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off-label: Yes

Learn more about Lupus Nephritis

Mayo Clinic reference

Legend

Rating For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).
Activity Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.
Rx Prescription only.
OTC Over-the-counter.
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over-the-counter.
Off-label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
EUA An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
M The drug has multiple schedules. The schedule may depend on the exact dosage form or strength of the medication.
U CSA Schedule is unknown.
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.