What can I do to prevent a relapse of GPA or MPA?

Answers from April Chang-Miller, M.D.

To reduce the risk of a GPA or MPA relapse, maintenance therapy is recommended.

After entering remission for GPA or MPA, you'll likely continue taking the immunosuppressive drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) for one to two months. Then, you'll begin maintenance therapy with another medication, such as methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept) or rituximab (Rituxan).

The optimal length of maintenance therapy has not been determined and most likely varies among people. However, limited research suggests that longer treatment durations might be linked with better outcomes.

During maintenance therapy, it's important to take your medication exactly as prescribed and see your doctor regularly for tests. If you notice any new or recurring symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately.

By following your doctor's instructions and paying attention to your body, you'll increase your chances of keeping a GPA or MPA relapse at bay.

Jul. 17, 2014 See more Expert Answers