Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Cyclosporin treatment of IgA nephropathy: a short term controlled trial.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 295 doi: (Published 07 November 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;295:1165
  1. K N Lai,
  2. F M Lai,
  3. P K Li,
  4. J Vallance-Owen
  1. Department of Medicine, Prince of Wales Hospital, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories.


    Cyclosporin's known regulatory effects on the immune system suggest that it may be useful in treating patients with IgA nephropathy. A randomised prospective single blind study of 19 patients with IgA nephropathy and proteinuria (greater than 1.5 g/day) was conducted to determine the therapeutic value of cyclosporin. The patients were divided into two groups: nine patients were given oral cyclosporin (5 mg/kg/day) for 12 weeks and 10 patients a placebo. The two groups were comparable in age of presentation, ratio of men to women, plasma creatinine and serum IgA concentrations, creatinine clearance, daily urinary protein excretion, severity of renal histopathological changes, and prevalence of hypertension. A significant reduction of proteinuria and an increase of plasma albumin concentration was observed with treatment with cyclosporin. Nevertheless, a significant rise of plasma creatinine concentration and a fall in creatinine clearance was found in patients after six weeks' treatment with cyclosporin, although the plasma cyclosporin concentrations were maintained within a narrow therapeutic range. Serum IgA concentrations were reduced in seven patients. Renal function improved within eight weeks after treatment was stopped. Three months after treatment was stopped proteinuria remained less than half of the pretreatment values in three patients. No similar biochemical changes were observed in the controls. Short term cyclosporin therapy may be beneficial in reducing proteinuria in some patients with IgA nephropathy. As transient renal impairment was seen, despite cyclosporin concentrations being maintained within a narrow therapeutic range, indiscriminate use of cyclosporin in glomerulonephritis should be discouraged.