Systemic lupus erythematosus, which predominantly affects young women, frequently is complicated by renal involvement The presence of acute glomerulonephritis significantly adds to morbidity and mortality. Based on currently published clinical trials, induction therapy with cyclophosphamide combined with pulse corticosteroids is an efficacious treatment option to preserve renal function, and long-term data are available to support this choice. Mycophenolate mofetil is a promising new agent, and recent data suggest that it is at least as efficacious as cyclophosphamide in the induction and maintenance phase, but with fewer side effects. Cell-depleting agents may be added in patients who fail the traditional regimens, preferentially in the setting of one of the ongoing clinical trials. The number of treatment regimens that the clinician can choose from when confronted with a patient with severe lupus nephritis has increased significantly, and more options are on the horizon. This promises more efficacious and better tolerable therapies, but it also puts an additional obligation on the physician to consider risk-to-benefit ratio, patient preference and adherence, feasibility, and cost; and to engage the patient in an active discussion about the different alternatives.
New directions in the management of severe lupus nephritis2006276441