Single-Center Study Finds Rituximab Effective for Lupus

Source: Rheumatology Network

As reported by Rheumatology Network, a retrospective study of 115 patients conducted at University College London Hospital found evidence that rituximab is an effective treatment for severe systemic lupus erythematosus and for forms of the disease that resist standard treatments. Results were published in Arthritis Care & Research. 

The response rate to treatment was 70 percent, as defined by improvements in standard measurements of efficacy. There were few adverse events. 

Two clinical trials, the EXPLORER trial and the LUNAR trial found improvements in particular measurements of efficacy, but did not find that the drug was superior to other treatments. Other studies suggest that among patients with refractory lupus, meaning that other treatments have failed, rituximab may be helpful.  

"Rituximab is the biologic agent with the most extensive off-label use in the treatment of refractory SLE and observational studies," the researchers wrote. "Much published data seem to contradict the results from the two available randomized controlled trials, suggesting a possible role for this drug in the treatment of SLE patients."