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New Guidelines for Kidney Disease Due to Lupus

Early Diagnosis, Aggressive Treatment Changing the Playing Field for Lupus Kidney Disease

Guidelines Discuss Treating Flares

There are also more options to treat active lupus nephritis today than ever before.

The new guidelines may help persuade insurers to cover the costs of some of the newer drugs.

There is trial and error involved in getting the disease under control. "If people aren't improving by six months, they should switch to another therapy," Hahn says. "If they are worsening at three months, they should switch to another treatment."

Pregnant women with lupus nephritis present a special challenge. Many of the available drugs can't be used during pregnancy.

"We don't know how rapidly you can taper off of or stop these treatments without risking a flare when a patient wants to become pregnant, either," Hahn says.

Still, LFA's Raymond adds: "Lupus nephritis care has come a long way in the past two or three decades. Today's medication can stop the disease from progressing."

And the new guidelines will pave the way for future advances, says David Pisetsky, MD, in an email. He is the chief of rheumatology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

"These guidelines are very important to the care of patients as well as research, including clinical trials of new agents and treatment approaches," he says. "They are a needed foundation for future work."

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