Innovative approaches are needed for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who develop autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA) that does not respond to conventional treatment. Rituximab, a chimaeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, has been demonstrated to be highly effective for in vivo B-cell depletion. We report an 18-year-old-girl with SLE and life-threatening AIHA that did not respond to steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin and cyclosporin A. Rituximab was given weekly at 375 mg/m2 for two doses. The drug was well tolerated and the patient had no adverse effects. Her haemolytic disorder markedly ameliorated, with a progressive increase of haemoglobin levels, starting a few days after therapy. The patient remains disease-free 7 months later.