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Lupus Kidney Disorder Treatment Improved Over Decade: Review

FRIDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Over the past 10 years, treatment options for patients with an inflammatory kidney disorder known as lupus nephritis have vastly improved, according to a new review.

This means that patients with lupus nephritis, which is a complication that can occur in individuals with the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), can now expect a better quality of life, without many of the harsh treatment side effects.

The review further indicates that new treatments for this serious kidney disorder are already coming down the pike, and will probably lead to even better options in the future.

"Treatment of lupus nephritis is rapidly changing, becoming safer and more effective," Dr. Gerald Appel, of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, said in an American Society of Nephrology news release.

Appel and Columbia colleague Dr. Andrew Bomback present their findings in the Nov. 1 online edition of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The authors noted that SLE affects about 1.4 million Americans, mostly women between the ages of 20 and 40.

The current observations stem from a broad review of research conducted over the past decade. Among the improvements in treatment approaches the co-authors cited was the establishment of new disease classification protocols; the advent of new and shorter treatment regimens involving lower dosages of highly toxic medications; and the emergence of less toxic drug alternatives.

The replacement of single drug interventions with combination options have also led to better treatment outcomes, the authors added, as have new therapies that carefully target certain parts of the immune system. And for patients who enter remission, new research has found that there are drug strategies that may help keep them from relapsing.

"The treatment of lupus nephritis today is markedly different, and objectively more effective, than it was 10 years ago," the authors said in the news release. "The hope and expectation is that a similar claim will be made 10 years hence."

More information

For more on lupus, visit the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

-- Alan Mozes

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Nov. 4, 2010

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