Objectives: To perform a literature review and develop recommendations for the use of rituximab in ANCA-associated vasculitis.
Methods: A committee of experts (five rheumatologists, five nephrologists and one paediatrician) conducted a modified Delphi exercise to identify five topics for a systematic literature search. The evidence was then reviewed, categorized according to international criteria and assimilated to form five recommendations statements and a research agenda.
Results: Forty-three studies met the review criteria. These included two randomized controlled trials and a predominance of small, uncontrolled series. In refractory ANCA-associated vasculitis, remission rates of >80% are obtained with rituximab. In newly diagnosed disease, rituximab is at least as effective as conventional therapy. Fifteen recommendations were made. Their strength was restricted by the low quality of the evidence. Six areas for future research were identified.
Conclusion: On the basis of the available evidence and expert consensus, recommendations have been made for the use of rituximab as a treatment of ANCA-associated vasculitis. Further questions, in particular regarding long-term outcomes, remain to be explored.