Remission and withdrawal of therapy in lupus nephritis

Gabriella Moroni, Francesca Raffiotta, Claudio Ponticelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There is agreement that early diagnosis and aggressive treatment of lupus nephritis exacerbations are of paramount importance to achieve remission and prevent the development of irreversible lesions. There is less agreement about the optimal duration of maintenance treatment. Instead, the prolonged exposure to corticosteroids and/or immunosuppressive drugs can cause invalidating or even life-threatening complications. It is still unclear if these drugs can be safely withdrawn in lupus patients. We were able to completely withdraw therapy in around 1/3 of our patients after a follow-up of 5 years or more; 60 % of them never had to start therapy again. Based on our own experience, discontinuation of therapy should be applied only in selected cases, i.e. patients who received maintenance therapy for at least 5 years and are in complete renal remission for at least 3 years. Antimalarial agents are helpful in maintaining the remission after withdrawal of therapy. However, to achieve these goals, drugs should be tapered off very slowly and under strict surveillance. If all these prerequisites are satisfied, the withdrawal of therapy in patients with lupus nephritis may be considered safe, may improve the patients’ quality of life and may reduce the damage accrual.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-565
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nephrology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressive agents
  • Lupus nephritis
  • Remission
  • Withdrawal of therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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