The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms, prevent complications, and delay kidney damage. To control nephrotic syndrome, the disorder that is causing it must be treated. You may need treatment for life.
Treatments may include any of the following:
Keeping blood pressure at or below 130/80 mm Hg to delay kidney damage. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are the medicines most often used. ACE inhibitors and ARBs may also help decrease the amount of protein lost in the urine.
Corticosteroids and other drugs that suppress or quiet the immune system.
Treating high cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel problems. A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is usually not enough for people with nephrotic syndrome. Medicines to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides (usually statins) may be needed.
A low-salt diet may help with swelling in the hands and legs. Water pills (diuretics) may also help with this problem.
Low-protein diets may be helpful. Your health care provider may suggest a moderate-protein diet (1 gram [gm] of protein per kilogram [kg] of body weight per day).
Taking vitamin D supplements if nephrotic syndrome is long-term and is not responding to treatment.
Taking blood thinner drugs to treat or prevent blood clots.
Outcome varies. Some people recover from the condition. Others develop long-term kidney disease and need dialysis and eventually a kidney transplant.
Health problems that may result from nephrotic syndrome include:
Pais P, Avner ED. Nephrotic syndrome. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW III, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 527.
Charles Silberberg, DO, private practice specializing in nephrology, affiliated with New York Medical College, Division of Nephrology, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.