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Rituxan Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis

Study Shows Low Doses of Rituxan as Effective as Higher Doses

Lower Doses, Fewer Steroids?

These finding suggest that high doses of steroids, which have many side effects when used long term, may not be needed in these patients.

Rheumatologist Simon Helfgott, MD, tells WebMD that this comes as no surprise. Helfgott treats rheumatoid arthritis patients at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston; he says about 40% of his patients are on biologics.

"Those of us who have been using this drug and following this understand that you don't need to give the whopping doses of steroids that were used in the early trials," he says.

He says Rituxan is emerging as a useful therapy for patients who fail treatment with the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-targeting biologics, such as Enbrel, Humira and Remicade.

"The difference in its mode of action is intriguing," he says. "Some patients strike out on all of the anti-TNF agents. It will be interesting to see how they respond to this drug."

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