Several treatment principles for nephrotic syndrome in children

Disease science

Several Treatment Principles for Nephrotic Syndrome in Children


Nephrotic syndrome (NS) is a common kidney disorder in children, characterized by heavy proteinuria, edema, hypoalbuminemia, and hyperlipidemia. The underlying cause of NS in children is often idiopathic and is classified as primary NS. Secondary NS may result from various systemic diseases or genetic disorders.

Treatment Principles

The treatment of NS in children aims to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications, and address the underlying cause. Several key principles guide the management of NS in children:

1. Dietary Management

Restricting sodium intake to reduce fluid retention and edema.

High-protein diet to maintain adequate serum albumin levels.

Limiting saturated fat and cholesterol intake to reduce hyperlipidemia.

2. Diuretics

Loop diuretics (e.g., furosemide) are used to promote diuresis and reduce edema.

They are often combined with other diuretics, such as thiazides (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide) or potassium-sparing diuretics (e.g., spironolactone).

Careful monitoring is necessary to prevent electrolyte imbalances and dehydration.

3. Steroids

Systemic corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) are the mainstay of treatment for primary NS.

They have anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects, which reduce proteinuria and induce remission.

Extended-release formulations of prednisone (e.g., prednisolone acetate) are used to maintain remission.

4. Immunosuppressants

Immunosuppressants (e.g., cyclosporine, tacrolimus) are used in patients with steroid-resistant NS or who have relapsed after steroid therapy.

They inhibit the immune system and reduce inflammation in the kidneys.

Close monitoring is required to assess efficacy and manage potential side effects.

5. Cyclophosphamide

Cyclophosphamide is an alkylating agent that suppresses the immune system.

It is used in severe cases of NS that fail to respond to steroids or immunosuppressants.

It has potential side effects, including bone marrow suppression and gonadal toxicity.

6. Rituximab

Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that targets B cells, which play a role in the immune response.

It is used in patients with steroid-resistant NS or who have relapsed after steroid therapy.

It is generally well-tolerated, with a lower risk of side effects compared to cyclophosphamide.

7. Plasmapheresis

Plasmapheresis is a procedure that removes proteins from the blood.

It is used in severe cases of NS where rapidly reducing proteinuria is necessary to prevent complications.

It is a temporary measure and is not commonly used as long-term therapy.

8. Address Underlying Cause

In cases of secondary NS, it is crucial to identify and treat the underlying cause.

For example, treating infections or managing autoimmune disorders can resolve the nephrotic syndrome.

9. Monitoring and Follow-up

Regular monitoring is essential to track disease activity, assess treatment response, and detect potential complications.

Laboratory tests (e.g., urine protein-to-creatinine ratio, serum albumin) are used to monitor proteinuria and overall kidney function.

Physical examinations are performed to assess edema and other signs of NS.

Long-term follow-up is necessary to monitor for relapses and potential complications, such as chronic kidney disease or thromboembolic events.


The management of nephrotic syndrome in children requires a multidisciplinary approach that addresses the underlying cause, alleviates symptoms, and prevents complications. By implementing these treatment principles, clinicians can improve the outcomes and quality of life for children with NS.

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