Background: There are no prospective randomized controlled trials describing the outcome of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) treated with steroids, and retrospective studies are limited. Methods: We identified adult patients with a diagnosis of AIN without glomerular pathology over a 14-year period. Treated patients all received oral prednisolone and three also recieved IV methylprednisolone. Data were collected retrospectively on estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), change in eGFR from time of biopsy, dependence on renal replacement therapy (RRT) and mortality, and outcomes were analysed according to the treatment prescribed. Results: A total of 187 eligible patients with AIN were identified and 158 were treated with steroids. There was no difference in median eGFR or dependence on RRT at the time of biopsy. Steroid-treated patients had significantly higher eGFR at all time points post-biopsy up to 24 months, when median eGFR was 43 mL/min in the steroid-treated group and 24 mL/min in the untreated group (P = 0.01). Fewer patients in the steroid-treated group were dialysis dependent by 6 months (3.2% versus 20.6%, P = 0.0022) and 24 months (5.1% versus 24.1%, P = 0.0019). Conclusions: This large retrospective study suggests a benefit of steroids in treatment of AIN with greater improvement in eGFR and fewer patients progressing to end-stage renal disease.
Keywords: acute interstitial nephritis; renal pathology; steroid therapy.