Background: Although minimal-change nephrotic syndrome (MCNS) is highly steroid-responsive, some patients show frequent relapses, necessitating administration of repeated courses of prednisolone (PSL) at high doses. The adverse effects of long-term PSL treatment include osteoporosis, infection, diabetes, cataract, etc., most of which are serious. It is therefore necessary to establish useful strategies to reduce the PSL dose.
Methods: Patients with the first relapse of MCNS were randomly assigned to two groups, namely, the CyA (AUC 1700-2000 ng/ml) + PSL (0.8 mg/kg/day) group (n = 26) and the PSL alone (PSL) (1.0 mg/kg/day) group (n = 26), and the clinical characteristics were compared between the two groups. All patients used C2 for CyA monitoring.
Results: A significant decrease of the urinary protein excretion (P = 0.02) and serum total cholesterol (P = 0.003) was observed at 2 weeks from the first relapse in the CyA + PSL group. The increase in the serum total protein (P = 0.03) and serum albumin (P = 0.007) as compared with that in the PSL group was also observed in the CyA + PSL group at this time-point. The time to remission in the CyA + PSL group was shorter than that in the PSL group (P = 0.006).
Conclusion: It was possible to obtain early remission and reduce the PSL dose with combined CyA and PSL therapy in patients with MCNS.