Background A few case reports have shown controversial results of rituximab efficacy in patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP).
Objective To analyse the efficacy of rituximab in a large CIDP cohort.
Methods A retrospective, observational and multicentre study on the use of rituximab in CIDP. 13 Italian CIDP patients were treated with rituximab after the partial or complete lack of efficacy of conventional therapies. Eight patients had co-occurring haematological diseases. Patients who improved by at least two points in standard clinical scales, or who reduced or discontinued the pre-rituximab therapies, were considered as responders.
Results Nine patients (seven with haematological diseases) responded to rituximab: six of them, who were non-responders to conventional therapies, improved clinically, and the other three maintained the improvement that they usually achieved with intravenous immunoglobulin or plasma exchange. Significantly associated with shorter disease duration, rituximab responses started after a median period of 2.0 months (range, 1–6) and lasted for a median period of 1 year (range, 1–5).
Conclusions Rituximab seems to be a promising therapeutic choice when it targets both CIDP and co-occurring haematological diseases. Timely post-onset administration of rituximab seems to be associated with better responses.
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