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Sparsentan: the first and only non-immunosuppressive therapy for the reduction of proteinuria in IgA nephropathy.

INTRODUCTION: IgA nephropathy is one of the most common forms of glomerular disease. Patients with persistent proteinuria are at increased risk of progression to kidney failure. There is a significant need for safe and effective therapies to lower proteinuria in these patients. Sparsentan is a non-immunosuppressive agent that acts as a dual angiotensin and endothelin receptor antagonist. It lowers proteinuria in experimental models of glomerular disease and in affected patients.

AREAS COVERED: This review covers the immunological and non-immunological actions of sparsentan in glomerular disease. It reviews the clinical trials that evaluated the impact of the drug in pediatric and adult patients with IgA nephropathy. It places the use of sparsentan in an overall treatment paradigm for the full spectrum of patients with IgA nephropathy including nonspecific renoprotective agents such as inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axis and SGLT2 transporter and immunosuppressive drugs. The review represents a search of the current literature about the effect of the drug on normal physiology and the pathogenesis of IgA nephropathy.

EXPERT OPINION: The safety, tolerability, and therapeutic efficacy of sparsentan have been demonstrated in long-term studies of patients with primary glomerular diseases extending over 5 years. The evidence in support of a beneficial treatment effect of sparsentan is stronger in IgAN than in FSGS. It is anticipated that sparsentan will supplant the use of ACEI or ARB as the first-line therapy to reduce proteinuria prior to the implementation of immunosuppressive agents in patients with IgA nephropathy. It may be combined with other renoprotective drugs like SGLT2 inhibitors. Practice guidelines are needed to promote safe and effective use of this new drug by nephrologists caring for patients with IgAN in all clinical settings.

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