Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment of glomerulonephritis and your outcome depend on:

  • Whether you have an acute or chronic form of the disease
  • The underlying cause
  • The type and severity of your signs and symptoms

Some cases of acute glomerulonephritis, especially those that follow a strep infection, tend to improve on their own and often require no specific treatment.

In general, the goal of treatment is to protect your kidneys from further damage.

Treatment for high blood pressure

Keeping your blood pressure under control is key to protecting your kidneys. To control your high blood pressure and slow the decline in kidney function, your doctor may prescribe one of several medications, including:

  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers

Treatment for an underlying cause

If there's an underlying cause for your kidney inflammation, your doctor may prescribe other drugs to treat the underlying problem, in addition to treatment to control any hypertension:

  • Strep or other bacterial infection. Treatment usually focuses on easing your signs and symptoms. Your doctor also may prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.
  • Lupus or vasculitis. Doctors often prescribe corticosteroids and immune-suppressing drugs to control inflammation.
  • IgA nephropathy. In some cases, both fish oil supplements and certain immune-suppressing drugs can successfully treat certain people with IgA nephropathy. Researchers continue to investigate fish oil supplements for IgA nephropathy.
  • Goodpasture's syndrome. Plasmapheresis is sometimes used to treat people with Goodpasture's syndrome. Plasmapheresis is a mechanical process that removes antibodies from your blood by taking some of your plasma out of your blood and replacing it with other fluid or donated plasma.

Therapies for associated kidney failure

For acute glomerulonephritis and acute kidney failure, dialysis can help remove excess fluid and control high blood pressure. The only long-term therapies for end-stage kidney disease are kidney dialysis and kidney transplant. When a transplant isn't possible, often because of poor general health, dialysis is the only option.

March 28, 2014