Background The emergence of publications about the role of B cells in the immunopathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has generated interest in the use of rituximab to treat RA. Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of rituximab in the treatment of RA after the failure of the TNFα inhibitor.
Objectives The purpose of this study was to evaluate the response to this treatment in rheumatoid arthritis Moroccan patients TNFα inhibitors-naive.
Methods We prospectively studied in our rheumatology Clinic in Morocco the outcome of thirty-one patients with RA TNFα inhibitors-naive confirmed on ACR / EULAR new criteria. One thousand milligrams (1000 mg) of rituximab was administered twice at an interval of 15 days. Therapeutic response was determined at mean 20 weeks after the infusion on the basis of DAS28 scores and EULAR response criteria.
Results Thirty-one patients were included in the study, a mean age of 49.1(± SD 8.27) years, 85% were EULAR responders. There was no significant difference in EULAR response between patients treated with rituximab and MTX (71.8%) and those who had received rituximab alone (76.5%). The mean of interval to retreatment is 34.3 weeks; However, interval to retreatment was significantly shorter in TNF inhibitor-naive patients treated with rituximab alone (P = 0.01). Lastly, a significant difference (P = 0.02) in EULAR response rate was observed between rheumatoid factor(RF)-positive patients (81.8%) and RF-negative patients (63.9%). Interval to retreatment was also significantly shorter in RF-negative patients.
Conclusions Our results of efficacy of rituximab appear to be consistent with those published in the literature.
Even if the number of patients is small, our study is original because is the first in Morocco to evaluate the response to rituximab in patients with RA TNFα inhibitor-naive.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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