(HealthDay News) — Voclosporin can preserve kidney function up to 3 years for patients with lupus nephritis, according to a study published online in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Amit Saxena, MD, from New York University in New York City, and colleagues evaluated the long-term safety, tolerability, and efficacy of voclosporin versus placebo in 216 patients with lupus nephritis receiving an additional 2 years of their assigned treatment following completion of the 1-year AURORA 1 study.

The researchers found that adverse events occurred in 86% of patients in the voclosporin group and 80% of patients in the control group with a lower frequency but similar adverse event profile to AURORA 1. In the voclosporin group, both the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decreased and hypertension occurred more frequently versus the control group (10.3 vs 5.0% and 8.6 vs 7.0%, respectively). In both treatment groups, mean corrected estimated GFR was within the normal range and stable. Across 3 years of treatment, improved proteinuria persisted, leading to more frequent complete renal responses in voclosporin-treated patients.

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“Notably, in this extension study, kidney preservation, sustained renal response, and reductions in steroid use were achieved with voclosporin,” Saxena said in a statement. “These findings demonstrate the critical importance of voclosporin in the management of lupus nephritis to improve patient outcomes.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures voclosporin and funded the study.

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