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Registry Efficacy of Rituximab in Refractory SLE

Rituximab (RTX) treatment of lupus (SLE) patients remains a therapeutic option, especially in refractory SLE.  An observational UK cohort of 261 refractory SLE patients were followed in the BILAG-BR registry.

Patients starting biologic therapy between 2010 and 2015 were enrolled. Glucocorticoids were used in 93% of patients.

Response rates at 6 months were available for 68% of patients. After 6 mos. of RTX, median BILAG scores dropped from at baseline to 3 at 6 months (P < 0.0001).

During the same period the median SLEDAI-2K reduced from 8 to 4 (0-7) (P < 0.001).

Half (49%) of patients achieved a response along with a significant reduction of glucocorticoid dose to 7.5 mg at 6 months (P < 0.001).

Serious infections occurred in 10% patients.

Despite large randomized trials failing to show the efficacy of RTX in SLE (LUNAR https:/ and EXPLORER, uncontrolled observational data suggests possible efficacy and safety of RTX in refractory SLE.

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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