Toni Braxton partners with Aurinia on kidney care campaign for lupus

Singer and lupus patient on mission to educate others on nephritis

Andrea Lobo, PhD avatar

by Andrea Lobo, PhD |

Share this article:

Share article via email
An illustration highlights the kidneys of a person seen from behind while drinking from a glass.

Toni Braxton is hoping to strike a chord with people with lupus via Aurinia Pharmaceuticals‘ “Get Uncomfortable” campaign: the singer-songwriter wants to empower fellow patients to prioritize kidney health as a key part of their care.

Braxton, a Grammy Award-winning singer, and an actress, producer, and entrepreneur, was diagnosed with lupus in 2008. Now, she’s sharing her personal story of living with the autoimmune disease, and how she effectively managed her own kidney care to prevent life-threatening complications.

The Get Uncomfortable campaign aims to educate people with lupus nephritis — a serious and common complication of lupus — to regularly visit their doctor and perform routine tests to help prevent irreversible kidney damage.

“Getting routine urine tests and seeing a doctor regularly is so important because up to 30 percent of people with lupus who have kidney involvement will experience kidney failure,” Braxton said in an Aurinia press release.

“While peeing in a cup is never comfortable, it is so much better than a kidney transplant or dialysis. During the past 15 years, I’ve learned to prioritize my kidney care and to be a strong advocate for my health — and I’m speaking out now to encourage other women to do the same,” she said.

Recommended Reading
A man speaks behind a podium.

Aurinia OK’d to Apply for New Lupkynis Patent for Lupus Nephritis

Kidney care especially important for patients at higher risk

Lupus nephritis is a severe yet common lupus complication that leads to inflammation and possibly irreversible kidney damage when poorly managed. Estimates indicate that people with lupus nephritis have a risk of death that is three times higher compared with patients who have lupus but no kidney involvement.

About 50% of people with the disorder develop lupus nephritis at some point. Around a third of lupus patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with lupus nephritis at the time they are first diagnosed with lupus.

The condition is more commonly seen in women, particularly those of color. Compared with white people, Black and Asian patients are roughly four times more likely to develop lupus nephritis. Hispanic and Native American patients are two times more likely to develop the condition.

Its symptoms include frequent urination, especially at night, bloody and foamy urine, and high blood pressure. Swelling also is common, particularly in the lower limbs.

In its early stages, the symptoms of lupus nephritis may go unnoticed. If not adequately treated, however, symptoms can get worse and patients may develop kidney failure and require either dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Toni’s relatable and authentic story about living with lupus will further inspire people living with lupus nephritis to better understand their health risks and take action to protect their kidneys before it’s too late.

The Get Uncomfortable campaign depicts highly relatable — although sometimes uncomfortable —situations that are part of the routine monitoring of lupus nephritis, and focuses on the importance of early diagnosis and treatment to prevent irreversible kidney damage. Its diagnosis commonly involves urine and blood tests, as well as a kidney biopsy.

“Since launching in October 2022, the Get Uncomfortable campaign has reached thousands of patients with important information about routine urine testing and treatment options to support informed discussions with their healthcare team,” said Peter Greenleaf, Aurinia’s president and CEO.

“Toni’s relatable and authentic story about living with lupus will further inspire people living with lupus nephritis to better understand their health risks and take action to protect their kidneys before it’s too late,” Greenleaf said.

Aurinia, a biopharmaceutical company, in 2021 introduced Lupkynis (voclosporin), the first FDA-approved oral immunosuppressant therapy for adults with active lupus nephritis.