The RITAZAREM Trial is an international, open label, randomized controlled trial comparing rituximab with azathioprine as maintenance therapy in relapsing ANCA-associated vasculitis.
Rituximab is now established as an effective drug for anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) vasculitis following major European and US trials reported in 2010. After a time, its effect wears off and the disease can return. This occurs in at least half of patients within two years of receiving Rituximab. A preliminary study in Cambridge has suggested that repeating rituximab every six months stops the disease returning and is safe.
The RITAZAREM trial will find out whether repeating rituximab stops vasculitis returning and whether it works better than the older treatments, azathioprine or methotrexate. It will also tell us how long patients remain well after the repeated rituximab treatments are stopped, and if repeated rituximab is safe. We should also learn useful information about the effects of rituximab on quality of life and economic measures. The trial results will help decide the best treatment for future patients who have their vasculitis initially treated with rituximab.
RITAZAREM aims to recruit patients with established ANCA-vasculitis whose disease has come back ‘relapsing vasculitis’. All patients will be treated with rituximab and steroids and we anticipate that most will respond well. If their disease is under reasonable control after four months, further treatment with either rituximab (a single dose ever four months for two years) or azathioprine tablets will be chosen randomly. The patients in the rituximab and azathioprine groups will then be compared. Patients will be in the trial for four years.
The study has been designed by members of the European Vasculitis Study group (EUVAS) and the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC). It will include 190 participants from 30 hospitals in Europe, the USA, Australia and Mexico.
Click here for the study information.