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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 717-725
Mycophenolate mofetil versus azathioprine for maintenance treatment of lupus nephritis

1 Department of Medicine, Military Hospital, Karary University, Omdurman, Khartoum, Sudan
2 Department of Immunology, Ibn Sina Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan
3 Department of Medicine, The National Ribat University, Khartoum, Sudan
4 Department of Pathology, Military Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan
5 Department of Medicine, Al-Mughtaribeen University, Khartoum, Sudan

Correspondence Address:
Babikir G Kaballo
Department Medicine, Military Hospital, Karary University, Omdurman, Khartoum
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-2442.185233

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To compare the efficacy of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) with that of azathioprine (AZA) drugs in the maintenance therapy of lupus nephritis (LN) patients, we studied 81 Sudanese patients with LN (32 in Class III, 34 in Class IV, and 15 in combined Class V + IV of the ISN/RPS 2003 Classification). All patients received induction therapy consisting of monthly intravenous pulse doses of cyclophosphamide (CYC) (500 mg/m 2 of body-surface area) for six months, plus three consecutive pulses of intravenous methylprednisolone 15 mg/kg/day of body weight (maximum 500 mg). Subsequently, 41 (50.6%) patients were randomized into a group that received oral MMF (22 mg/kg/day), and 40 (49.4%) patients randomized to a group that received oral AZA (2 mg/kg/day). All patients initially received oral prednisone (1 mg/kg of body weight daily) for four weeks. The baseline characteristics of the two groups were similar. Total remission rate was 75.3% (80.5% in MMF and 70% in AZA), complete remission rate of 54.3% (56.1% with MMF and 52.5% with AZA), and a partial remission rate of 21% (24.4% with MMF and 17.5% with AZA) over 29 months. During maintenance therapy, six patients died (four in the AZA group and two in the MMF group), and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) developed in five patients (three in the AZA group and two in the MMF group). During the 36-months of the study, both groups had comparable event-free survival rate for the composite end point of death or ESRD and rate of relapse-free survival. Furthermore, both groups had no significant differences in terms of frequency of hospitalization, amenorrhea, infection, nausea, and vomiting. We conclude that our study showed that short-term therapy with intravenous CYC followed by maintenance therapy with oral MMF or AZA had similar efficacy and safety for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe LN.

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