The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
Rituximab (Rituxan) for Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Rituximab (Rituxan – Genentech), an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody already marketed for treatment of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,1 is now FDA-approved for use concurrently with methotrexate to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in patients who have had an inadequate response to one or more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. Rituximab selectively depletes CD20+ B cells, which apparently play a role in the autoimmune response and in the chronic synovitis associated with rheumatoid arthritis.2

DMARDs — Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are now used early in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis to prevent irreversible damage to joints. Methotrexate is generally the DMARD of choice. The TNF inhibitors — etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade) and adalimumab (Humira) — are increasingly used, either alone or ... more      

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Title: Rituximab (Rituxan) for Rheumatoid Arthritis
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