Mycophenolate mofetil therapy in lupus nephritis: Clinical observations

Mary Anne Dooley, Fernando G. Cosio, Patrick H. Nachman, Michael E. Falkenhain, Susan L. Hogan, Ronald J. Falk, Lee A. Hebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

217 Scopus citations


Controlled clinical trials in renal transplantation have demonstrated that mycophenolate mofetil is well tolerated and has lower renal transplant rejection rates than azathioprine regimens. This study reports on the clinical experiences at two institutions with mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) for severe lupus nephritis. Twelve patients with relapsing or resistant nephritis previously treated with cyclophosphamide therapy and one patient who refused cyclophosphamide as initial therapy for diffuse proliferative nephritis but accepted MMF were included. During combined MMF/prednisone therapy, serum creatinine values remained normal or declined from elevated values: mean change in serum creatinine was -0.26 ± 0.46 μM/L, P = 0.039. Proteinuria significantly decreased: mean change in urine protein-to-creatinine ratios was -2.53 ± 3.76, P = 0.039. Decreased serum complement component C3 and elevated anti-double-stranded DNA antibody levels at baseline improved in some, but not all, patients. The mean initial dose of MMF was 0.92 g/d (range, 0.5 to 2 g/d). The mean duration of therapy was 12.9 mo (range, 3 to 24 mo). Adverse events included herpes simplex stomatitis associated with severe leukopenia (n = 1), asymptomatic leukopenia (n = 2), nausea/diarrhea (n = 2), thinning of scalp hair (n = 1), pancreatitis (n = 1), and pneumonia without leukopenia (n = 1). Recurrence of the pancreatitis led to discontinuation of MMF in this patient; all other adverse events resolved with dose reduction. It is concluded that MMF is well tolerated and has possible efficacy in controlling major renal manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus. Controlled clinical trials are needed to define the role of MMF in the management of lupus nephritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-839
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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