Type to search

News and Views

Study proves the efficacy of rituximab in managing polymyalgia rheumatica

webdesigner Nov 25

Glucocorticoids serve as the mainstay of treatment for managing polymyalgia rheumatic treatment. However, longer treatment duration and steroid-related adverse events are the major challenges in using them in routine practice. Moreover, there are no glucocorticoid-sparing agents with proven therapeutic potential for managing polymyalgia. A recent study published in the Lancet Rheumatology has concluded on the efficacy of rituximab in combination with 17-week glucocorticoid treatment in achieving glucocorticoid-free remission in patients with polymyalgia rheumatica.

The double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept trial enrolled patients with polymyalgia rheumatica who were unable to taper their prednisolone dose to <7·5 mg per day. The study subjects received a single IV infusion of rituximab 1000 mg or placebo, along with a 17-week glucocorticoid tapering scheme. Follow-up conducted at 21 weeks demonstrated that 48% of the 23 subjects who received rituximab and 21% of 24 subjects in the placebo group achieved glucocorticoid-free remission.

As per the present treatment guidelines, it is necessary to weigh the risks and benefits of long-term glucocorticoid therapy for managing the refractory or relapsing disease. Although certain studies have suggested the steroid-sparing effect of methotrexate, there is no evidence-based data suggesting a real substitute for steroid treatment. Further corroboration of the present study findings may assist in developing a glucocorticoid-sparing treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica. It will be beneficial for patients with poor prognoses and having contraindications for treatment with glucocorticoids.

Leave a Comment