June 13, 2019
A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology found that rituximab was helpful as a maintenance therapy for tough-to-treat lupus patients. Maintenance treatment refers to one designed to help a main treatment work. Rituximab is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for two types of cancer. It is sold by the brand name Rituxan®.
Federico Alberici M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Milan led the study. He and colleagues looked at 147 lupus patients from four sites in Europe. At six months, 27 percent of patients did not improve. 85 relapses occurred in the 80 patients who were given rituximab as maintenance treatment. By the last treatment, 84 percent were in remission and 35 percent never flared. Joint disease at the start of the study predicted risk of flares. The rate of relapses during maintenance treatment was similar to that of patients who received a single dose of rituximab.
Investigators found that maintenance therapy with rituximab is a potential treatment option in tough to treat patients.