Medication for Glomerulonephritis in Children

NYU Langone doctors prescribe medication to manage glomerulonephritis, which causes inflammation in the kidneys’ filtering structures. Children with severe or chronic inflammation may need treatment with one or more medication to eliminate the cause of the condition and protect the kidneys from further damage.

Antibiotics

NYU Langone doctors may prescribe antibiotics to eliminate bacterial infections in children with glomerulonephritis. Acute, or sudden, glomerulonephritis caused by a bacterial infection often resolves after treatment with antibiotics.

Blood Pressure Medications

Your child’s doctor may recommend blood pressure medication, such as angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and beta blockers, to control hypertension in children with glomerulonephritis.

Diuretics may also be prescribed to help the kidneys eliminate excess water and sodium, which can narrow blood vessels and cause further kidney damage. Many of these medications are available in liquid form, which are often easier for young children to take.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are powerful medications that control inflammation and swelling by suppressing the immune system. These medications, which can be given by mouth or through a vein with intravenous (IV) infusion, may be used for a short period of time to manage more severe symptoms.

High doses of steroids can block the absorption of vitamin D and calcium, which can lead to bone loss. They can also cause weight gain. Doctors can prescribe dietary supplements to manage these side effects.

Immunosuppressant Medications

Doctors may use immunosuppressant medications, such as cyclophosphamide, to treat children with severe glomerulonephritis caused by the autoimmune disease lupus. This treatment, which is given once a month via IV infusion, can continue for months or longer, depending on the severity of your child’s symptoms.

Immunosuppressive medications can prevent bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside bones, from making new blood cells, which can increase the risk of infection. As a result, our doctors recommend that your child wash his or her hands frequently and stay up to date on vaccinations to avoid bacterial or viral infections.

Targeted Therapies

Targeted therapies, also called biologics, are newer medications that block the activity of cytokines, immune system cells that cause inflammation. These medications include adalimumab and rituximab.

Doctors give targeted therapies through a vein with intravenous (IV) infusion every few weeks. These medications may cause mild gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea and diarrhea.

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