Efficacy and safety of enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium in combination with two glucocorticoid regimens for the treatment of active lupus nephritis

Mycophenolic acid, in combination with glucocorticoids, has been shown in a series of trials to be safe and effective for treatment of lupus nephritis. Regimens that permit glucocorticoid dose reduction without loss of efficacy would be advantageous. MyLupus was a 24-week, multicentre, open-label, study in patients with active proliferative lupus nephritis treated with enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium (EC-MPS), randomized to standard-dose (n = 42) or reduced-dose (n = 39) glucocorticoids. Complete response at week 24, the primary endpoint, was achieved in 19.8% (16/81) of patients (19.0% standard-dose, 20.5% reduced-dose; lower limit of 97.5% CI for the difference –15.9%, p = 0.098, i.e. non-inferiority was not shown). Partial response occurred in 42.0% of patients (34/81). From baseline to week 24, the mean global British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) score decreased from 14.0 ± 5.4 to 5.0 ± 3.8 (p < 0.001). The incidence of adverse events was 80.2% (65/81), most frequently gastrointestinal complications (31/81, 38.3%). Infections were reported in 57.1% and 35.9% of standard- and reduced-dose glucocorticoid patients, respectively (p = 0.056), with herpes zoster in 16.7% and 0% (p = 0.012). Three patients discontinued study medication due to adverse events. This exploratory study suggests that EC-MPS may facilitate glucocorticoid reduction without loss of efficacy in patients with active lupus nephritis, but results require confirmation in a controlled, longer-term study versus the current standard of care.

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