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.
July 17, 2014
- Tarzi RM, et al. Current and future prospects in the managementof granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's granulomatosis). Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. 2014;10:279.
- Stone JH, et al. Maintenance immunosuppressive therapy in granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 6, 2014.
- Springer J, et al. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's): Impact of maintenance therapy duration. Medicine (Baltimore). 2014;93:82.
- Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA/Wegener's). Vasculitis Foundation. http://www.vasculitisfoundation.org/education/forms/granulomatosis-with-polyangiitis-gpa-wegeners/. Accessed June 6, 2014.
- Microscopic polyangiitis. Vasculitis Foundation. http://www.vasculitisfoundation.org/education/forms/microscopic-polyangiitis/. Accessed June 6, 2014.