Rescue Therapy Using Rituximab for Multiple Sclerosis

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Abstract

Objectives

The aim of the study was to describe the effectiveness and safety data of rituximab in a group of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with rituximab due to failure of previous treatments or concomitant autoimmune diseases.

Methods

This is an observational study. Rituximab was considered in case of failure of the second-line therapy, failure of the first-line therapy and a contraindication to second-line therapies, or concomitant autoimmune disease. Relapses, the Expanded Disability Status Scale, the EQ VAS, and magnetic resonance imaging activity were assessed.

Results

This study included 12 patients with relapsing-remitting MS. The mean (range) age of the patients was 35 (19–54) years. Ten patients were treated with rituximab because of treatment failure, and 2 patients were treated with rituximab because of the development of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. The mean (range) follow-up duration after beginning rituximab was 40 (18–72) months. Rituximab was well tolerated, because no patient experienced serious adverse reactions or discontinued treatment. During treatment with rituximab, no patient suffered a clinical relapse, and magnetic resonance imaging activity was not detected. The Expanded Disability Status Scale scores improved in 11 of 12 patients and remained stable in 1 patient. The EuroQol visual analogue scale scores improved in 8 of 9 patients in whom the EuroQol visual analogue scale was assessed.

Conclusions

Treatment with rituximab seems to be safe and effective for some patients with relapsing-remitting MS who have failed to respond to first- and second-line therapies and may also be a useful option for patients with concomitant autoimmune disorders.

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