Persistent CD-19 depletion by rituximab is cost-effective in maintaining remission in calcineurin-inhibitor dependent podocytopathy

Raja Ramachandran, Joyita Bharati, Indu Rao, Ahmed W. Kashif, Ritambhra Nada, Ranjana Minz, Krishan L. Gupta, Harbir S. Kohli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: A significant proportion of patients with minimal change disease (MCD) and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) are either steroid dependent or steroid resistant, requiring long-term calcineurin inhibitors (CNI) use. Rituximab has more favourable safety profile. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy and safety of rituximab in CNI-dependent patients. Methods: This was a prospective observational study conducted from July 2014 to February 2018. Steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome or steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (biopsy proven MCD/FSGS), who were CNI dependent were enrolled. Mean age at enrolment was 22.77 ± 7.45 years. All patients received rituximab at a dose of 375 mg/m 2 at entry in the study. CD-19 levels were monitored monthly and patients having CD-19 levels >5/μL and/or > 1% received additional low-dose (100 mg) of rituximab. Results: A total of 24 patients were followed up for 12 months. At the end of 6 and 12 months, 87.5% and 79.16% of the patients achieved remission, respectively. Eight (33.33%) patients developed relapse. The mean dose of rituximab in the first year was 791 mg. The average cost of rituximab in the first year was 487.17$. Rituximab was well-tolerated, with mild infusion reactions, respiratory tract infection and oral candidiasis in 5 (20.83%), 5 (20.83%) and 1 (4.17%) patient, respectively. Conclusions: CD-19 targeted rituximab is a safe and cost-effective agent in remission maintenance in adults with CNI dependent. Over three-fourths of the patients with CNI-dependent podocytopathy maintain clinical remission with CD-19 targeted rituximab therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 01-12-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nephrology


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