Although there is no cure for lupus nephritis, the ultimate treatment goal is to stop progression of the disease, induce remission and help patients avoid the need for dialysis or kidney transplantation. Treatment plans help people manage symptoms such as high blood pressure, protein in the urine (proteinuria), and swelling (edema) in the hands and feet.
Traditional treatments used to slow the progress of the disease include:
- Dietary protein and salt restriction — A specialized diet can improve kidney function.
- Blood pressure medications — Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) can control blood pressure and keep protein from leaking from the kidneys into the urine.
Specialized treatments used when traditional therapies don't work include:
- Steroids, cyclophosphamide and immunosuppressants — Some people do not respond well to traditional drug therapies, but may respond to individualized immunosuppressive therapies that could include drugs like prednisone, cyclophosphamide, azathioprine (Imuran) and mycofenolate (Cellcept). Mayo Clinic has expertise in creating treatment plans that maximize medication benefits and minimize side effects.
- Novel therapies — Mayo Clinic tests new drugs and therapeutic strategies in clinical trials offered through the Mayo Nephrology Collaborative Group.
For people who progress to kidney failure, treatment options include:
- Dialysis — Mayo Clinic offers state-of-the-art dialysis treatment, including the option for in-home dialysis.
- Kidney transplantation — All three Mayo locations offer kidney transplant. Mayo has performed thousands of kidney transplants with better than average results.