Rituximab Therapy for Systemic Rheumatoid Vasculitis: Indications, Outcomes, and Adverse Events

Caitrin M. Coffey, Michael D. Richter, Cynthia S. Crowson, Matthew J. Koster, Kenneth J. Warrington, Steven R. Ytterberg, Ashima Makol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective. To characterize the indication, outcomes, and adverse effects of rituximab (RTX) treatment in a large single-center cohort of patients with systemic rheumatoid vasculitis (RV). Methods. We retrospectively reviewed the medical charts of 17 patients treated with RTX for systemic RV from 2000 to 2017. Clinical characteristics, outcomes, and adverse effects were analyzed. Results. At RV diagnosis, mean age was 59 years, 59% were female, 94% were white, and 82% had positive rheumatoid factor. At the time of initiating RTX, median Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score for rheumatoid arthritis was 4.0 (interquartile range 2.0-7.5). RV presented in the skin in 8 patients (47%), as mononeuritis multiplex in 2 (12%), inflammatory ocular disease in 2 (12%), and affected multiple organ systems in 5 (29%). RTX was used for induction therapy in 8 patients (47%), relapsing RV in 4 (24%), second-line therapy in 2 (12%), and salvage therapy or in combination with another agent in 3 (18%). At 3 months, 2 (13%) of 15 patients with available followup information achieved complete remission (CR), and 10 (67%) achieved partial response (PR). At 6 months, 6 patients (40%) achieved CR, 8 (53%) achieved PR, and one had no response. At 12 months, 8 of 13 patients with available records (62%) had CR and 5 patients (38%) had PR. Conclusion. Systemic RV is difficult to treat effectively. CR of RV was achieved in 62% and PR in 38% of patients within 12 months of RTX use. Further evidence is needed to inform treatment for patients with RV. (First Release November 15 2019; J Rheumatol 2020;47:518-23; doi:10.3899/jrheum.181397).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-523
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Biological therapy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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