Rituxan

Generic Name: Rituximab

  • What is Rituxan?

    Rituxan is used in combination with methotrexate to treat moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that has not responded to other therapy. It is used alone or in combination with chemotherapy to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and used in combination with chemotherapy to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Rituxan?

    Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including infusion reactions, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), tumor lysis syndrome (TLS), and severe skin and mouth reactions. Infusion reactions are the most common side effect of Rituxan. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience hives, rash, itching, swelling, sudden cough, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, or chest pain.

    PML is a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus; tell your doctor immediately if you experience confusion, loss of balance, weakness on one side of your body, or blurred vision. TLS is caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells, which can lead to kidney and heart problems. People with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are more likely to develop TLS. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of severe skin and mouth reactions such as sores, ulcers, blisters, peeling skin, rashes, or pustules.

    Rituxan can cause reactivation of hepatitis B virus.

    Rituxan can cause infections during and up to 1 year following completion of Rituxan therapy.

    Rituxan can cause abdominal pain and bowel problems.

    Do not get vaccinated with live virus vaccines before or during Rituxan treatment.

  • Who should not take Rituxan?

    Do not take Rituxan if you have a severe infection or if you are allergic to any of it ingredients.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Rituxan?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Rituxan. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, including previous therapies used, especially if you have a severe infection, stomach/bowel problems, heart problems, kidney problems, if you have/had hepatitis B, or if you are planning to get vaccinated. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dosage for you.

  • How should I take Rituxan?

    Rituxan will be administered to you by your doctor by infusion through a needle placed in a vein in your arm. Your doctor may prescribe medications before each infusion of Rituxan to reduce infusion side effects such as fever and chills. Your doctor should do regular blood tests to check for side effects of Rituxan.

  • What should I avoid while taking Rituxan?

    Avoid missing follow-up appointments with your doctor. Avoid getting vaccinated with live virus vaccines.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Rituxan?

    No significant interactions have been reported with Rituxan at this time. However, always tell your doctor about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

  • What are the possible side effects of Rituxan?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: infusion reactions, fever, chills, infections, low white blood cell count, bronchitis, weakness, nausea, headache, night sweats, rash, itching, abdominal pain, cough, rhinitis

  • Can I receive Rituxan if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Rituxan during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Women who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control while using Rituxan and for 12 months after finishing treatment. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Rituxan?

    Rituxan should be given under special circumstances determined by your doctor. If you miss your scheduled dose, it is best to speak to your healthcare provider for advice.

  • How should I store Rituxan?

    Your healthcare provider will store Rituxan.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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