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ACR: Rituximab Found Helpful for ANCA-Associated Vasculitis

Head-to-head trial shows the drug is as effective as standard therapy with cyclophosphamide

MONDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with severe ANCA-associated vasculitis, treatment with rituximab may be as effective as standard treatment with cyclophosphamide, according to research presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, held from Oct. 17 to 21 in Philadelphia.

John H. Stone, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues randomly assigned 197 patients with severe Wegener's granulomatosis or microscopic polyangiitis to receive either rituximab or cyclophosphamide.

The researchers found that the primary outcome achievement of remission was similar in the rituximab and cyclophosphamide groups (64 versus 55 percent). They also found that a similar proportion of rituximab and cyclophosphamide patients achieved a Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score for Wegener's granulomatosis of zero and a prednisone dose less than 10 mg/day at six months (71 versus 62 percent). Furthermore, no significant group differences were observed in disease flares or adverse events.

"These results provide strong support for the use of rituximab as an alternative to cyclophosphamide in ANCA-associated vasculitis," the authors conclude.

Several authors of the study reported financial relationships with medical and pharmaceutical companies.


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