Lupus :: Cancer Drug Rituximab Fights Lupus
The cancer drug rituximab may benefit lupus patients with central nervous system (CNS) complications, according to a new U.S. study.
“Rituximab appears to be quite effective. It is a kinder, gentler form of treatment lasting up to six months with a low risk of side effects, compared to previous treatments of high-dose steroids and chemotherapy,” researcher Michael Neuwelt of the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University, said in a prepared statement.
The small 16-month study included 22 patients. More than half of them received rituximab alone, others took the drug in combination with steroids, and a third group took the drug with the chemotherapy agent cyclophosphamide, the current standard treatment for severe CNS lupus.
Sixteen of the patients showed significant improvement and the condition of four others was stabilized, the study said. Brain scans revealed improvements in adverse changes caused by the disease.
Neuwelt stressed that randomized-controlled clinical trials still need to be conducted to determine the effectiveness of rituximab in treating CNS lupus.
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