About a milion and a half Americans have Lupus. It causes a lot of symptoms, but if a patient's kidneys are affected they could end up needing a transplant. Now there's a new pil that could avoid this complication.
Bewtween 60 and 90% of Lupus patients have kidney damage. That usually doesn't cause symptoms but can be very serious if it's not treated. The most common treatment is chemotherapy drug called Intravenous Cytoxan. But doctors say it's not easy to use.
There are a lot of side effects both short term and long term that make it difficult to use. There's a lot of nausea, weight loss, hair loss and increase of infections. There may also be an increase in certain kinds of cancers.
But researchers have now shown a pill called Mycophenalate Motifil or Cellcept, may be better at stopping Lupus Kidney Disease.
Here's how it works: In Lupus, antibodies attack the patient's own body including the kidneys. Cellcept decreases the number of antibodies attacking the kidneys. That decreases the amount of damage to the organs.
Insurance companies will cover the treatment. If not Cellcept costs a few thousand dollars for a 6 month course of treatment. Most of the funding for this study came from the FDA but some also came from Roche Labs, the maker of Cellcept.