Objectives: To investigate the effects on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and functional capability of rituximab vs azathioprine for ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) maintenance therapy.
Methods: In a 24-month phase III randomised-controlled trial, 115 patients over time received rituximab or azathioprine for AAV maintenance therapy. Mean changes of 36-item Short-form Health Survey (SF-36) and Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) scores from baseline were analysed.
Results: Mean improvements of HAQ scores, from baseline to month 24 were significantly better for the rituximab (0.16 points lower) than the azathioprine group (p=0.038). As demonstrated by SF-36, study patients' baseline HRQOL was significantly impaired compared with age- and sex-matched US norms. At month 24, mean changes from baseline of SF-36 physical component score tended to be better for the rituximab group (+3.95 points, p=0.067) whereas mean changes from baseline of the SF-36 mental component score were significantly better for the azathioprine group (+4.23 points, p=0.041).
Conclusions: Azathioprine-treated patients' for AAV maintenance therapy showed a decline in physical abilities when compared to RTX at M24 in the MAINRITSAN trial.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, http://clinicaltrials.gov/, NCT00748644.