Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Treatment

Initial treatment for Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's) usually includes the anti-inflammatory corticosteroid drug prednisone. For milder or more limited disease, your doctor may also recommend treatment with the drug methotrexate (Folex, Rheumatrex).

For active or severe disease, your doctor may recommend treatment with a combination of two drugs: prednisone along with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) or rituximab (Rituxan). Cyclophosphamide and rituximab are powerful immune-suppressing medications.

As your symptoms subside, your doctor will try to reduce the dosage of each drug gradually.

Once your condition improves and you've taken cyclophosphamide or rituximab for three to six months, your doctor may suggest switching medications. He or she may recommend methotrexate or azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan) for a total of one year of treatment. However, longer courses of therapy may be necessary if disease control is interrupted by periods of active disease.

Cyclophosphamide is a very strong drug. It can cause serious side effects such as bladder damage (especially bleeding) and an increased risk of bladder cancer. Cyclophosphamide and rituximab increase a person's risk of serious infections.

If you develop serious side effects related to these medications, your doctor may prescribe an alternative medication.

A procedure called plasmapheresis may help some people. In this procedure, blood is filtered and returned to the body. This procedure may help because it removes harmful antibodies but details about why it may work are unknown.

Page 6 of 9     Next Page:  Wegener's Granulomatosis When to Call A Doctor
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 3 SparkPoints
From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

You can find more great health information on the Harvard Health Publications website.