Objective To update the 2012 EULAR/ERA–EDTA recommendations for the management of lupus nephritis (LN).
Methods Following the EULAR standardised operating procedures, a systematic literature review was performed. Members of a multidisciplinary Task Force voted independently on their level of agreeement with the formed statements.
Results The changes include recommendations for treatment targets, use of glucocorticoids and calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) and management of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). The target of therapy is complete response (proteinuria <0.5–0.7 g/24 hours with (near-)normal glomerular filtration rate) by 12 months, but this can be extended in patients with baseline nephrotic-range proteinuria. Hydroxychloroquine is recommended with regular ophthalmological monitoring. In active proliferative LN, initial (induction) treatment with mycophenolate mofetil (MMF 2–3 g/day or mycophenolic acid (MPA) at equivalent dose) or low-dose intravenous cyclophosphamide (CY; 500 mg × 6 biweekly doses), both combined with glucocorticoids (pulses of intravenous methylprednisolone, then oral prednisone 0.3–0.5 mg/kg/day) is recommended. MMF/CNI (especially tacrolimus) combination and high-dose CY are alternatives, for patients with nephrotic-range proteinuria and adverse prognostic factors. Subsequent long-term maintenance treatment with MMF or azathioprine should follow, with no or low-dose (<7.5 mg/day) glucocorticoids. The choice of agent depends on the initial regimen and plans for pregnancy. In non-responding disease, switch of induction regimens or rituximab are recommended. In pure membranous LN with nephrotic-range proteinuria or proteinuria >1 g/24 hours despite renin–angiotensin–aldosterone blockade, MMF in combination with glucocorticoids is preferred. Assessment for kidney and extra-renal disease activity, and management of comorbidities is lifelong with repeat kidney biopsy in cases of incomplete response or nephritic flares. In ESKD, transplantation is the preferred kidney replacement option with immunosuppression guided by transplant protocols and/or extra-renal manifestations. Treatment of LN in children follows the same principles as adult disease.
Conclusions We have updated the EULAR recommendations for the management of LN to facilitate homogenization of patient care.
- systemic lupus erythematosus
- lupus nephritis
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Handling editor David S Pisetsky
GB, DJ and DTB contributed equally.
Contributors AF, MK and KC performed the systematic literature review and AF drafted the manuscript. GB supervised the methodology and edited the manuscript. DJ and DTB convened and supervised the project and edited the manuscript. All authors edited the manuscript and accepted its final form.
Funding This study was funded by European League against Rheumatism.
Competing interests AF reports personal fees from GSK, Abbvie, Amgen, Enorasis, Roche and Genesis Pharma, outside the submitted work. HJA reports personal fees from GSK, Astra Zeneca and Janssen, during the conduct of the study; personal fees from Secarna, Inositec, Previpharma and Noxxon, outside the submitted work. MA reports honoraria fees from GSK and Roche, outside the submitted work; FH reports honoraria fees from GSL, outside the submitted work. MP reports personal fees from Otsuka, grants and personal fees from Alexion, personal fees from Retrophin, outside the submitted work. YKOT reports grants from GSK, personal fees from Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, personal fees from Novartis, during the conduct of the study. MT reports grants from Abbvie, BMS, Novartis, Pfize and Roche and honoraria fees from Novartis, outside the submitted work. DJ reports personal fees from Astra-Zeneca, Aurinia, Boehringer-Ingelheim, grants and personal fees from Chemocentryx, GSK, Roche/Genentech, and Sanofi-Genzyme, personal fees and other from Vifor, outside the submitted work.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting or dissemination plans of this research.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Detailed data relating to this article will be published separately and are also available upon request.
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