Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease of the central nervous system. B cells play an important pathogenic role in MS. Rituximab (RTX), a B-cell depleting drug, has been used to treat MS and neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Patient characteristics, safety, and efficacy measures are reviewed to ascertain the therapeutic benefit and safety of RTX in a real-world setting with long-term follow-up.
This is a retrospective chart review of patients who received RTX at The Ohio State University's MS clinic from January 2005 to October 2016.
Of the 64 patient charts reviewed, 23 had a relapsing remitting MS, 17 had primary progressive MS (PPMS), and 24 had NMO. In the relapsing remitting MS cohort, there was an annual relapse rate of 0.005 and 87% were reported as clinically stable at the end of the chart review period. In the primary progressive MS cohort, 47% were reported as clinically stable at the end of the chart review period. In the NMO cohort, there was an annual relapse rate of 0.0074 and 79% were reported as clinically stable at the end of the chart review period. A total of 29 infusion reactions were reported in 21 patients. None were serious and only 1 patient elected to stop RTX due to an adverse event.
Rituximab demonstrated good tolerability and efficacy in cases of both relapsing and progressive forms of MS and NMO.