Lupus Nephritis: Improving Treatment Options

Drugs. 2022 May;82(7):735-748. doi: 10.1007/s40265-022-01715-1. Epub 2022 Apr 29.


Despite improvements in patient and renal death rates following the introduction of potent immunosuppressive drugs in earlier decades, a sizeable fraction of patients with lupus nephritis is burdened with suboptimal or delayed responses, relapses, chronic use of glucocorticoids and accrual of renal (chronic renal insufficiency) and extra-renal organ damage. The recently approved combinatory treatments comprising belimumab or voclosporin added to conventional agents, especially mycophenolate, hold promise for further improving disease outcomes and enabling a faster steroid tapering, thus being relevant to the treat-to-target context. However, it remains uncertain whether these dual regimens should become the first-line choice for all patients or instead be prioritized to certain subgroups. In the present article, we summarize the existing lupus nephritis management recommendations, followed by a critical appraisal of the randomized trials of belimumab and voclosporin, as well as the available data on obinutuzumab and other novel compounds under development. We conclude that pending the identification of accurate clinical, histological, or translational predictors for guiding personalized decisions, it is of utmost importance that lupus nephritis patients are monitored closely with appropriate treatment adjustments aiming at a prompt, deep response to ensure long-term preservation of kidney function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney
  • Lupus Nephritis* / drug therapy
  • Recurrence


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents