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Rituximab (RTX) is a chimeric monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody used in the treatment of various rheumatic diseases.1 Although generally well tolerated, infusion-related reactions (IRR) represent the most common adverse event associated with treatment and are difficult to predict. In patients undergoing treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, the incidence of IRR is quoted as 3%–4%2 3; however, in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) this is significantly higher at 19%.4 To date, few studies have assessed the role antidrug antibodies (ADA) play in the lack of response or development of IRR to RTX in SLE. Here, we investigate how the presence of ADA relates to IRR and effectiveness of RTX therapy in SLE.
Fifty-seven patients fulfilling American College of Rheumatology criteria were recruited from the lupus clinic at University College London Hospital, UK. All patients were receiving RTX for active SLE (British Isles Lupus Assessment Group [BILAG] A or 2B scores) for the first time. Confirmed IRR were recorded in electronic health records. Baseline characteristics including complement C3 (C3), double-stranded DNA antibody titres (dsDNA) and BILAG score were recorded at the time of treatment and at each subsequent clinic visit. CD19 positive lymphocyte (CD19) levels were measured at 1 and 6 months following treatment. IRR were classified in accordance with …
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