Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sjogren's Syndrome and Rituximab

Medications used in the treatment of Sjogren's syndrome can often be confusing to patients. You can read my previous post regarding autoimmune drugs, here. I should have included use of the drug Rituximab in the biologic category. Luckily, another blogger has done a great job in discussing this medication's use in autoimmune disease.

This post, written in December 2010, contains excellent information about Rituximab use in Sjogren's syndrome. It was written by Ellen S. and the entire post can be found here.

"Rituximab is an injectible chimeric antibody. (A chimera is a mythical creature with body parts from different animals) In this case, Rituximab is part human and part mouse. Because it is prepared using the cells/proteins of living creatures it is called a biologic. Because it depletes the immune system it is also called a DMARD - Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug.
Rituximab is used mixed with other fluids and given via IV once weekly. Each infusion may take 3-4 or more hours. It works as an autoimmune treatment by depleting the number of B cells - one of the many types of specialized cells in the immune system that play a part in inflammation. Normally, inflammation is a necessary and normal immune response. In autoimmune primary Sjogren's Syndrome, the inflammatory response is out of control.
Rituximab is not a first line drug. It is used only when other biologic medications have failed. Rituximab is an antibody that is specific for a molecule called CD20 that is normally present on the surface of B cells. The cells are targeted and lysed (destruction via explosion) by the Rituximab antibodies."
Read this well written post in it's entirety which includes links to studies of this drug and Rituximab side effects.

You can read more about Rituximab from the National Institutes of Health here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a clinical trial on this drug here, I try to enter it, I was so depress by my helath and pain. It's when I try to enter it that my diagnotic was put in question.
I don't know if this drug is good or not, but the good point is that there are research made on Sjogren !