- Parent companies: Genentech and Biogen Idec.
- Administered via intravenous infusion.
- Binds to a molecule (CD20) on the surface of
B cells and depletes them from the circulation for an average of nine months. Used in lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
- Serious adverse events have been reported in Rituxan-treated patients with other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, including PML (as with Tysabri); patients must be closely monitored.
- A Phase I, 72-week study showed a reduction in the frequency of inflammatory brain lesions and relapses.
- A Phase II trial examined the effect of a single course of treatment, two infusions administered two weeks apart. At 24 weeks, there was a 91-percent reduction in the number of active lesions and a 58-percent reduction in relapses. These
results continued to 48 weeks.
- A Phase II/III trial of Rituxan in 435 adults with primary-progressive MS (PPMS) did not achieve its primary goal of slowing disease progression.
- A small trial in neuromyelitis optica (NMO), which is an MS-like disorder, demonstrated a marked reduction in relapses with Rituxan.