Rituximab (Rituxan) can help patients with rheumatoid arthritis who also have interstitial lung disease, according to research described by MedPage Today.

Each treatment cycle of rituximab consisted of 1,000 mg given intravenously on days 1 and 14, with repeat cycles being given for clinical relapses. A total of 181 treatment cycles were given during total follow-up of 195 patient-years.

Responses were assessed for both RA and ILD manifestations. Following the first treatment cycle, the mean disease activity score in 28 joints fell from 5.69 to 4.07, for a mean difference of -1.62 (95% CI -2.20 to -1.05, P<0.001).

Good, moderate, and poor responses on the criteria of the European League Against Rheumatism were seen in 23%, 62%, and 15%, respectively, 6 months after rituximab treatment, but these articular responses did not correlate with lung responses.

Eight patients did not respond to the first cycle of rituximab, with seven showing incomplete B-cell depletion. Six of the eight underwent re-treatment at 6 months, and all responded.

Read the rest at www.medpagetoday.com