Study shows that new drug may help in the treatment of thyroid eye disease

A study that will be published in the journal Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that rituximab showed promising results in the treatment of thyroid eye disease, an autoimmune eye condition, OSN SuperSite reports.

Researchers from the California Pacific Medical Center conducted a clinical trial of 12 patients with thyroid eye disease. All participants had clinical activity scores (CAS) and VISA (vision, inflammation, strabismus and appearance/exposure classification) scores of four or higher, which signifies a worsening of the condition. Patients were followed for one year after undergoing intravenous rituximab 1,000-milligram infusion on the first and 15th of the month.

Investigators assessed CAS, peripheral B-lymphocyte levels, thyroid antibody levels and thyroid function at the start date and at four, eight, 12, 24, 36 and 52 weeks after the second infusion. Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels were also observed for 12 months after infusion.

Data revealed that CAS scores at each follow-up were significantly lower than starting scores. Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels did not diminish significantly from the baseline. B-cell depletion was identified one month after infusion.

"The results support the continued investigation of rituximab for [thyroid eye disease] in a larger placebo-controlled trial," the authors wrote.
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