We conducted a multicenter prospective trial to evaluate the efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of a single dose of rituximab (375 mg/m(2) body surface area) for the treatment of children with refractory steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome (SDNS). All patients (n = 12) were able to discontinue steroids at a median of 74 days after treatment. The frequency of relapses per 6 months was significantly reduced and the steroid-free period per 6 months was significantly increased after treatment compared with those before treatment. The condition in nine of the patients (75%) relapsed at a median of 129 days after treatment, and seven patients were given additional rituximab due to steroid dependency. Most of the relapses developed simultaneously with recovery of B-cells. However, three patients (25%) did not have a relapse with B-cell recovery and the disease was kept in remission for more than 1 year. None of the patients developed life-threatening adverse events. This is the first report of a prospective study of a single dose of rituximab for refractory SDNS. Treatment with a single dose of rituximab may be effective for refractory SDNS, but its efficacy to prevent relapses was transient in most of the patients.