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Supplementary Material for: Treatment of Pemphigus Vulgaris and Foliaceus with Adjuvant Rituximab Compared to Immunosuppression Alone: Real-Life Experience

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posted on 05.08.2020, 13:34 by Snast I., Spitzer L., Hodak E., Levi A., Mimouni D., Leshem Y.A.
Introduction: In a randomized prospective trial, adjuvant rituximab was more efficacious than corticosteroids alone in the treatment of pemphigus; however, real-life data are limited. Rituximab treatment for pemphigus has only recently been introduced to the Israeli health basket. Previously, patients received rituximab if they paid out of pocket or through private insurance, separating patients into 2 treatment groups, mostly based on economic capability. Methods: A retrospective cohort study of the 12-month clinical response of pemphigus vulgaris/foliaceus patients. We compared patients after a single cycle (1,000 mg on days 0 and 15 or weekly 375 mg/m2 for 4 weeks) of adjuvant rituximab with systemic corticosteroids ± steroid-sparing agents, to patients who were prescribed rituximab, could not obtain it, and received systemic corticosteroids ± steroid-sparing agents. Results: Forty-five patients were included (adjuvant rituximab, n = 29; immunosuppression alone, n = 16). At baseline, rituximab patients had a higher mean pemphigus disease area index (PDAI) (p = 0.07) and higher mean daily dosages of prednisone (1.51 vs. 1.16 mg/kg, p = 0.39). All patients but 1 in the rituximab group continued systemic steroids, and 31% in the rituximab group versus 50% in the immunosuppression-alone group received systemic adjuvants. At 12 months, partial or complete remission rates (on or off maximum 40 mg/day prednisone equivalent) were nonsignificantly higher in the rituximab group (62 vs. 50%, p = 0.53); however, patients on rituximab showed faster remissions (3.4 ± 1.9 vs. 5.9 ± 3.6 months; p = 0.03) with a trend for a greater PDAI reduction (p = 0.051). Adverse events were comparable. Conclusions: In this real-life study, a single cycle of rituximab achieved more remissions and sooner compared to conventional immunosuppression, but the differences were not significant, probably due to a small sample size and severe baseline disease in the rituximab group. Future real-life studies on larger groups are needed.