A study published in the April 20 issue of the American Journal of Nephrology found that mycophenolate may be effective as the first-line-of-defense treatment for patients whose kidneys are not functioning properly due to lupus nephritis. Previous research had already demonstrated its safety and effectiveness as initial treatment for patients with lupus nephritis whose kidney function is normal.
“It’s important to note that while patients with impaired kidney function did better with mycophenolate, they did not do as well as those whose disease had not progressed to that point,” emphasized Chaim Putterman, MD, Chief, Division of Rheumatology , Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “That difference underscores the need to diagnose and treat lupus nephritis as soon as possible before the disease progresses. The sooner we start treatment, the better the outcome.”
Mycophenolate, known by its brand name CellCept® (mycophenolate mofetil) belongs to a class of medications known as immunosuppressives, meaning that they help limit the response of the body's immune system. CellCept is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only for use in preventing organ transplant rejection.
“However, it is often used to treat lupus nephritis based on substantial research showing that it is no less effective than the existing standard of care cyclophosphamide, but may be safer with less severe side effects,” noted Dr. Putterman.