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Rituximab and abatacept 

Rituximab and abatacept
Chapter:
Rituximab and abatacept
Source:
Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)
Author(s):

John D. Isaacs

and Philip M. Brown

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199642489.003.0083_update_002
Previous versions of this chapter are available. To view earlier versions of this chapter view the full site here.

Two biologics that target cells have been licensed to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rituximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody (mAb) against CD20 that depletes B cells; abatacept is a soluble form of CTLA-4 that blocks costimulation and interferes with T-cell function. Both drugs alleviate signs and symptoms of RA and have been shown to retard radiographic progression. Rituximab is licensed for use following failure of tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blockade whereas abatacept’s licence permits use as a first-line biologic. As with other biologics, the use of either drug is associated with an enhanced risk of serious infections; additionally, rituximab in particular can cause infusion reactions, requiring prophylaxis. By targeting cells that are central to RA pathogenesis, these drugs provide important additional therapeutic options for patients with RA.

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