Rituximab for refractory granulomatous eye disease
Elyse E Lower1,2 Robert P Baughman,1 Adam H Kaufman3
1Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA; 2Oncology Hematology Care, Cincinnati, OH, USA; 3Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA
Objective: To determine the effectiveness of rituximab therapy for patients with granulomatous disease of the eye.
Methods: Retrospective review was undertaken of cases seen at a single institution for ocular antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis or sarcoidosis with persistent ocular disease despite systemic therapy. All patients were treated with rituximab and followed for at least 6 months.
Results: Nine patients were identified (five with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis, four with sarcoidosis), and all were treated for at least 6 months. Eight experienced improvement of eye disease and were able to reduce prednisone and other drug therapies. One patient remained stable, but still required high dosages of prednisone. All five patients with lung disease improved with rituximab therapy. Rituximab treatment was well tolerated. Two patients discontinued the drug due to leukopenia; however, both patients reinstituted rituximab at modified doses.
Conclusion: Rituximab therapy was effective in controlling granulomatous ocular disease in most cases. The drug was corticosteroid-sparing and effective in refractory cases, with no severe adverse events encountered.
Keywords: sarcoidosis, wegener’s, ANCA, cyclophosphamide
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