Rituximab in autoimmune diseases

Aust Prescr. 2016 Aug;39(4):131-134. doi: 10.18773/austprescr.2016.053. Epub 2016 Aug 1.


Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that depletes B cells from the circulation. It was originally used to treat lymphoma but is increasingly used for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Rituximab was found to be effective in randomised controlled trials for rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and other antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides. However, evidence of efficacy is very limited for many other autoimmune conditions. Before starting rituximab, it is important to check the patient's baseline immunoglobulins and immunisation status. Patients should also be screened for latent infections and other contraindications.

Keywords: B lymphocyte; antineoplastic agent; antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody; autoantibody; lymphoma; rituximab.

Publication types

  • Review