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Rituximab Associated With Some Cardiac Adverse Effects Among Patients With Pemphigus

Findings from a recent study found minor arrhythmogenic adverse effects, including increased maximum heart rate, associated with rituximab infusion among patients with pemphigus.

“Rituximab has shown promising efficacy for the treatment of pemphigus in the past decade,” the researchers wrote. They conducted an observational, cross-sectional study to assesses potential cardiac adverse effects among patients with pemphigus. Patients eligible for rituximab infusion had their heart rhythm monitored before, during, and after infusion (N=80; median age 42 years). Their electrocardiogram parameters were compared before and after infusion.

Compared with the mean and maximum heart rate prior to rituximab infusion, the mean and maximum heart rate of patients increased significantly after infusion, the researchers wrote.

They also found the mean corrected QT (QTc) interval, premature atrial contraction (PAC), and premature ventricular contraction (PVC) counts increased significantly after rituximab infusion.

“According to the results of this study, rituximab has potential arrhythmogenic side effects including increased mean and maximum heart rate, QTc interval, PAC and PVC count,” the researchers concluded. “However, these findings are minor and should not prevent eligible patients from receiving RTX infusion.”


Aidi S, Daneshpazhooh M, Eslami M, Azizpour A, Toosi R, Mollazadeh R. Adverse electrocardiographic effects of rituximab infusion in pemphigus patients. Dermatol Ther. Published online September 11, 2020. doi:10.1111/dth.14299

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