Impact of the ALMS and MAINTAIN trials on the management of lupus nephritis

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2013 Jun;28(6):1371-6. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfs447. Epub 2012 Dec 11.


Current treatment of lupus nephritis consists of both induction and maintenance therapy, with the latter being designed to consolidate remissions and prevent relapses. Long-term maintenance treatment with intravenous cyclophosphamide was effective but associated with considerable toxicity. A small but well-designed controlled trial found that for post-induction maintenance therapy, both oral mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and oral azathioprine were superior in efficacy and had reduced toxicity than a regimen of continued every third month intravenous cyclophosphamide. Although these oral agents were rapidly accepted and utilized as maintenance medications, their usage was based on scant evidence and there were no comparisons between the two. Recently, two relatively large, randomized, well-controlled, multicenter trials dealing with maintenance therapy for severe lupus nephritis have been completed. The Aspreva Lupus Management Study (ALMS) maintenance and MAINTAIN nephritis trials provide important information regarding the comparative efficacy and safety of MMF and azathioprine as maintenance therapies, as well as information on the effect of dosage and duration of treatment with these agents.

Keywords: ALMS; MAINTAIN; lupus nephritis; maintenance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Lupus Nephritis / therapy*
  • Remission Induction