Rituximab is sold under the brand name MabThera. It is able to remove B cells from within the body frame. These are white blood cells that produce certain antibodies in response to viruses and germs. They might also react to substances which the body perceives to be dangerous or foreign. In some cases these reactions are not justified because the substances are in fact harmless. That is where an autoimmune condition might be identified. There are certain forms of arthritis that are particularly associated with an autoimmune disorder. In such cases Rituximab might be part of the treatment program that is recommended for patients. The prescription for this type of treatment is normally associated with patients that have rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid factors are targeted using this treatment program. After some months the body will switch from producing rheumatoid factors to producing good antibodies.
Taking Rituximab with diligence and safety in mind
Like all forms of arthritis treatment, Rituximab requires the supervision of a clinician. They will be able to look at the symptoms that the patient is suffering from and they could also recommend methodologies through which the side effects of the condition might be minimized. The prescription normally happens when the patient has developed stiffness and pain in the affected areas. The treatment is at the top of the scale and the patient will be required to first try out alternatives. These alternatives include gold injections, sulfasalazine, methotrexate and the anti TNF drugs. The anti TNF drugs include adalimumab, etanercept and Infliximab. Sometimes the patient cannot use any of these medications and therefore Rituximab becomes the only viable alternative.
The contraindications for Rituximab include inactive rheumatoid arthritis, failure to take standard treatments first, pregnancy, breastfeeding and infections. The clinicians will look at the medical record of the patient and might even interview them in order to ascertain whether there are any contraindications. Some patients are forbidden from taking Rituximab on account of the fact that they get short of breath very easily or that they have low antibody levels. Where the patient has HIV it is important that the clinician handling that condition is consulted so that a comprehensive management program is in place. These are individuals with a high risk of developing a compromised immune system. Therefore it only makes sense to proceed cautiously in order to ensure that no harm is done to the patient during the course of treatment.
The use of Rituximab is not unknown in cases of systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE. Nonetheless there has to be a test to confirm that the patient is not seronegative for rheumatoid factors. In cases where there are no rheumatoid factors, then the use of Rituximab might be counterproductive. Clinical supervision is part of the process of using Rituximab. There have to be checks that ensure the welfare of the patient. Likewise blood tests will be carried out in order to ascertain the efficacy of the treatment. In due course it might be complemented by other forms of treatment which the patient is able to handle.