Rituximab Can Improve Quality of Life in RA
Rituximab may be a good option for treating patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that does not respond to anti–tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research (2008;59:785-793).
Explore This IssueAugust 2008
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In this study, patients with active RA received either rituximab (298 patients) or placebo (201 patients), in addition to methotrexate, folate, intravenous methylprednisolone before infusions, and oral prednisone. Patients received rituximab or placebo on days 1 and 15, and were followed for 24 weeks using the ACR 20% response, the Health Assessment Questionnaire disability index, the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–Fatigue, and the Short Form 36.
By week 24, patients treated with rituximab had statistically significant improvements in pain, fatigue, functional disability, quality of life, and disease activity when compared with patients treated with placebo.
The study authors point out that this research adds to evidence that rituximab can be an effective treatment option for patients who have a poor response to therapy or who cannot take anti-TNF agents because of side effects. Rituximab, they write, “meaningfully improves patients’ perceptions of their disease.”