Objectives: We examined the efficacy and safety of rituximab (RTX) maintenance therapy for patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) in Japan. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study using a multi-center cohort database of vasculitis patients. All maintenance treatment courses were divided into three groups: a RTX group, a group treated with other immunosuppressant drugs (IS) and a group receiving glucocorticoid monotherapy (GC). The primary endpoint was the comparison of relapse-free survival after 1 year. We also analyzed the occurrence of severe adverse events (SAEs) to assess safety. Results: We included 123 courses of 107 patients (RTX n = 14, IS n = 64, GC n = 45). Twelve of 14 in the RTX group patients were diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA). The relapse-free survival of RTX maintenance therapy was comparable to that in the other groups (p =.122). After 1 year of treatment, the RTX group was administered lower steroid doses and one-third of them could withdraw corticosteroid. The overall incidence of SAE was 0.54/patient-year in the RTX group, 0.39/patient-year in the IS group and 0.34/patient-year in the GC group. Conclusion: RTX maintenance therapy could be effective and safe in Japanese GPA patients.
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