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Publication Detail
Short-term efficacy and safety of rituximab therapy in refractory systemic lupus erythematosus: results from the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group Biologics Register
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    McCarthy ME, Sutton E, Nesbit S, White J, Parker B, Jayne D, Griffiths B, isenberg D, rahman , Gordon C, D'Cruz DP, Rhodes B, Lanyon P, Vital EM, Yee C-S, Edwards CJ, Teh L-S, Akil M, McHugh NJ, Zoma A, Bruce IN
  • Publisher:
    Oxford University Press
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    470, 479
  • Journal:
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    systemic lupus erythematosus, biologic therapy, rituximab, register
OBJECTIVES: To describe the baseline characteristics of SLE patients requiring biologic therapy in the UK and to explore short term efficacy and infection rates associated with rituximab (RTX) use. METHODS: Patients commencing biologic therapy for refractory SLE and who consented to join BILAG-BR were analysed. Baseline characteristics, disease activity (BILAG 2004/SLEDAI-2K) and rates of infection over follow-up were analysed. Response was defined as loss of all A and B BILAG scores to ⩽ 1 B score with no new A/B scores in other organ systems at 6 months. RESULTS: Two hundred and seventy SLE patients commenced biologic therapy from September 2010 to September 2015, most commonly RTX (n = 261). Two hundred and fifty (93%) patients were taking glucocorticoids at baseline at a median [interquartile range (IQR)] oral dose of 10 mg (5–20 mg) daily. Response rates at 6 months were available for 68% of patients. The median (IQR) BILAG score was 15 (10–23) at baseline and 3 (2–12) at 6 months (P < 0.0001). The median (IQR) SLEDAI-2K reduced from 8 (5–12) to 4 (0–7) (P < 0.001). Response was achieved in 49% of patients. There was also a reduction in glucocorticoid use to a median (IQR) dose of 7.5 mg (5–12 mg) at 6 months (P < 0.001). Serious infections occurred in 26 (10%) patients, being more frequent in the first 3 months post-RTX therapy. A higher proportion of early infections were non-respiratory (odds ratio = 1.98, 95% CI: 0.99, 3.9; P = 0.049). CONCLUSION: RTX is safe and is associated with improvement in disease activity in refractory SLE patients with concomitant reductions in glucocorticoid use. Early vigilance for infection post-infusion is important to further improve treatment risks and benefits.
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