New Study Shows Potential Benefit of Existing Organ Transplant Medication for Lupus Nephritis

A study conducted in China showed that low doses of tacrolimus, a drug currently used to prevent organ transplant rejection, may help treat lupus patients with kidney damage who are not responding to the immunosuppressant cyclophosphamide.

Also an immunosuppressant, tacrolimus is used along with other medications to prevent rejection (attack of a transplanted organ by the immune system of a person receiving the organ) in people who have received kidney, liver, or heart transplants. Both drugs decrease the activity of the immune system to prevent it from attacking the transplanted organ.

An estimated one third of people with lupus are affected by lupus nephritis – a serious consequence of lupus in which the immune system attacks the kidneys. While nine out of 10 people with lupus are women, men with the disease are more prone to lupus nephritis.