Mycophenolate in refractory and relapsing lupus nephritis

Am J Nephrol. 2014;40(2):105-12. doi: 10.1159/000365256. Epub 2014 Jul 30.


Background: Mycophenolate (MF) is effective as induction and maintenance treatment in patients with lupus nephritis (LN). This study evaluates the efficacy and safety of MF in patients with refractory and relapsing LN.

Methods: Data were retrospectively obtained for 85 patients (35 refractory and 50 relapsing) from 11 nephrology departments in Spain. The primary endpoints were the incidence and cumulative number of renal responses and relapses and their relationship with baseline clinical and analytical data. The secondary endpoint was the appearance of side effects.

Results: The main clinical and analytical variables were similar both in refractory and relapsing LN. Most of the patients had received cyclophosphamide, and all of them switched to MF. 74 patients (87%) achieved a response (69% partial, 31% complete). Age at starting MF, gender, pathological classification, body mass index, blood pressure, baseline renal function, and proteinuria were not associated with achieving response. After stopping MF, 3 of 19 patients (15.7%) relapsed, all at 6 months of follow-up. No differences were found between clinical and analytical variables and number of relapses. Side effects were unremarkable, except for 1 patient, who died of thrombocytopenia and ovarian hemorrhage.

Conclusions: Switching to MF from other immunosuppressive treatments is effective and safe in refractory and relapsing LN.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Diarrhea / chemically induced
  • Drug Substitution
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Infections / chemically induced
  • Infections / microbiology
  • Lupus Nephritis / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Nephritis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycophenolic Acid / adverse effects
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spain
  • Young Adult


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Mycophenolic Acid