Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rituximab for induction?

A trial from Sweden was published last year in Transplantation.  It was a prospective, double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled multicenter study on the efficacy and safety of rituximab as induction therapy, together with tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, and steroids in kidney transplants. The primary endpoint was defined as acute rejection, graft loss, or death during the first 6 months. They randomized 140 patients and found no difference in rejection episodes, infection episodes.  There was a tendency toward fewer and milder rejections during the first 6 months in the rituximab group. A commentary of this also got published in recent May issue of Transplantation.
More trials need to be done with this agent before we think it can be used as an induction agent. Trails of using it as an induction in lupus also have been done in Europe with promising results.
Other areas where it is being used in highly sensitized individuals to desensitize. In cases of historical cross matches that are positive. Rituximab is becoming standard drug to give patients with antibody mediated rejection.

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