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1.  Rituximab for Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Rheumatology and Therapy  2015;2(2):99-111.
Rituximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody directed at the CD20 molecule on the surfaces of some but not all B cells. It depletes almost all peripheral B cells, but other niches of B cells are variably depleted, including synovium. Its mechanism of action in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is only partially understood. Rituximab was efficacious in clinical trials of patients with RA, including those who are methotrexate naïve, those with an incomplete response to methotrexate, and those with an incomplete response to tumor necrosis factor inhibitors. The need for a concomitant traditional disease-modifying drug, the optimal dose of rituximab, and the optimal interval for retreatment remain somewhat uncertain. Rituximab seems to be most efficacious in seropositive patients and those with an incomplete response to only one tumor necrosis factor inhibitor. Rituximab has a reasonable safety profile, with a small risk of serious infectious events, which is stable over time and repeat courses. Opportunistic infections are rare. Reactivation of hepatitis B remains a concern. The possible association of rituximab and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy may still require vigilance. Malignancies and cardiovascular events do not appear to be increased. Infusion reactions are more likely with the initial infusion, and are usually mild. Rituximab may cause hypogammaglobulinemia, but any risk of subsequent risk of increased infectious events is not yet well established. Before initiating rituximab, patient screening for hypersensitivity to murine proteins, infections, congestive heart failure, pregnancy, and hypogammaglobulinemia is imperative. Vaccinations should be administered prior to treatment whenever possible. Rituximab has been a significant addition to the rheumatologists’ armamentarium for the treatment of RA.
doi:10.1007/s40744-015-0016-9
PMCID: PMC4883263  PMID: 27747531
Rheumatoid arthritis; Rituximab
2.  Late-onset peripheral joint disease in ankylosing spondylitis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1982;41(6):574-578.
We reviewed the records of 150 patients with definite ankylosing spondylitis who had significant peripheral arthritis and were seronegative and found 7 patients who had the onset of peripheral arthritis after their spinal disease became inactive. This late-onset peripheral arthritis may lead to significant joint deformity, and aggressive therapy may be warranted.
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PMCID: PMC1000987  PMID: 7149794
3.  The 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism Classification Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(9):2582-2591.
Objective
The American College of Rheumatology and the European League Against Rheumatism have developed new classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of Phase 2 of the development process was to achieve expert consensus on the clinical and laboratory variables that should contribute to the final criteria set.
Methods
Twenty-four expert RA clinicians (12 from Europe and 12 from North America) participated in Phase 2. A consensus-based decision analysis approach was used to identify factors (and their relative weights) that influence the probability of “developing RA,” complemented by data from the Phase 1 study. Patient case scenarios were used to identify and reach consensus on factors important in determining the probability of RA development. Decision analytic software was used to derive the relative weights for each of the factors and their categories, using choice-based conjoint analysis.
Results
The expert panel agreed that the new classification criteria should be applied to individuals with undifferentiated inflammatory arthritis in whom at least 1 joint is deemed by an expert assessor to be swollen, indicating definite synovitis. In this clinical setting, they identified 4 additional criteria as being important: number of joints involved and site of involvement, serologic abnormality, acute-phase response, and duration of symptoms in the involved joints. These criteria were consistent with those identified in the Phase 1 data-driven approach.
Conclusion
The consensus-based, decision analysis approach used in Phase 2 complemented the Phase 1 efforts. The 4 criteria and their relative weights form the basis of the final criteria set.
doi:10.1002/art.27580
PMCID: PMC3077961  PMID: 20872596

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