BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A first treatment that would help treat children with rare diseases that cause inflammation of small red blood vessels was approved.
On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Rituxan (rituximab) injection to treat granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) in children 2 years of age and older. The injection is used in combination with glucocorticoids, or steroid hormones.
Rituxan was approved to treat adult patients with GPA and MPA in 2011. It is also approved to treat four additional diseases, including Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1997.
The treatment is the first one approved for children with these rare vasculitis diseases. The diseases cause small blood vessels to become inflamed, which reduces the amount of blood that can flow through them.
These kinds of diseases can create serious problems and damage to organs, specifically the lungs and kidneys. Sinuses and skin can also be affected, according to the FDA.
The most common side effects of Rituxan are infections, infusion-related reactions, lymphopenia and anemia.
The FDA advises health care professionals to monitor patients for tumor lysis syndrome, cardiac adverse reactions, damage to kidneys, and bowel obstruction and perforation.