Reducing glucocorticoid duration in ANCA-associated vasculitis: A pilot trial

Eli M Miloslavsky, John L Niles, Zachary S Wallace, Frank B Cortazar, Ana Fernandes, Karen Laliberte, John H Stone
Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism 2018, 48 (2): 288-292

OBJECTIVE: Therapeutic advances in ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) have improved patient survival, but mortality rates remain higher than the general population. Glucocorticoids contribute to AAV morbidity and mortality. We examined whether an 8-week glucocorticoid course in combination with rituximab (RTX) would induce disease remission in patients with AAV.

METHODS: Patients with active AAV received an 8-week prednisone taper and RTX 375mg/m2 weekly for 4 weeks. Patients with severe glomerulonephritis or diffuse alveolar hemorrhage requiring mechanical ventilation were excluded. In-person and telephone visits were scheduled for disease activity assessment. The primary endpoint was complete remission at 24 weeks (no disease activity while being off prednisone with no intercedent relapses). Secondary analysis included comparing study outcomes to historical controls from the Rituximab in AAV (RAVE) trial.

RESULTS: Fourteen of 20 patients (70%) achieved the primary outcome. The patients in our trial achieved the primary outcome at a rate similar to that of controls from the RAVE trial (adjusted OR 1.31 [0.26-6.56]), had fewer median adverse events per patient (2 versus 8, p < 0.001) but were more likely to relapse (30% versus 7%, p = 0.03). Most relapses occurred in patients who had severe vasculitic manifestations at trial entry. Disease damage did not differ between the two trial populations.

CONCLUSION: An 8-week course of prednisone with RTX resulted in a similar rate of complete remission at 6 months as in the RAVE trial, with fewer adverse events but more frequent relapses. Further study of this protocol is warranted in selected patient populations.

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