- OBJECTIVE: The existing guidelines for lupus nephritis (LN) recommend initial prednisone doses of 0.3-1.0 mg/kg/day. However, recent studies reported noninferior outcomes with lower doses. The aim of this study was to compare the complete renal response rates in LN patients treated with prednisone ≤30 mg/day or ≥40 mg/day. METHODS: Patients with new-onset LN and standard immunosuppressive treatment were followed for at least 12 months, divided into medium (≤30 mg/day) and high prednisone groups (≥40 mg/day) and matched (propensity score) based on the baseline differences. Complete renal response was defined as proteinuria <0.5 gm/day and no worsening in renal function. Glucocorticoid-related damage was also assessed. RESULTS: High-dose prednisone patients (n = 103; mean ± SD dose 48.6 ± 12.3 mg/day) achieved better rates of complete response compared to the medium group (n = 103; mean ± SD dose 24.2 ± 4.6 mg/day) (61.8% versus 38.2%; P = 0.024) at 12 months. The difference in response rates was reproduced for several subgroups (concomitant immunosuppressive treatment, proliferative/nonproliferative LN). Complete remission rates were higher at 2 years (67.8% versus 39%; P = 0.002) and 3 years (64.9% versus 49.1%; P = 0.025) after LN diagnosis. Cumulative glucocorticoid dose was comparable at 2 and 3 years. Glucocorticoid-related damage was accelerated in both groups for the same period. CONCLUSION: Higher initial prednisone doses (median 45 mg/day) achieved significantly better rates of complete renal response at 12 months in new-onset LN. Cumulative glucocorticoid dose and damage accrual were not different at 2 and 3 years after LN. Damage was more prominent in the late phases of LN in both groups, underlining the importance of rapid tapering and the need to implement alternative strategies.