Rituximab is used alone or with other medications to treat certain types of cancer (e.g., non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia). It is a type of medication called a monoclonal antibody. It works by attaching to certain blood cells from your
Rituximab is also used with methotrexate to treat moderate-to-severe forms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is usually used for arthritis only after other medications have not worked. It can decrease joint pain and swelling. It is also used to treat certain types of blood vessel disease (such as Wegener's granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis).
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using rituximab and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Your doctor should prescribe other medications (such as acetaminophen, an antihistamine, methylprednisolone) for you to take before each treatment to help reduce side effects, such as fever and chills. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions.
This medication is given by slow injection into a vein by a health care professional as directed by your doctor. The dosage and treatment schedule are based on your medical condition, other medications you may be taking, and response to treatment.?
Ask your doctor if you should take your regular medications (e.g., drugs for high blood pressure) before your treatment.
Warning & Precautions
Before using rituximab, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other mouse protein medications; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood disorders (e.g., thrombocytopenia), heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat, angina), current or returning infections, lung problems (e.g., pulmonary infiltrates), previous severe reaction to monoclonal antibody treatment, virus infection (e.g., chickenpox, hepatitis B or C, herpes, JC virus).
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.
To lower your risk of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
Caution should be used when using this in the elderly because they may be at greater risk for heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat) or lung problems (e.g., pneumonia).
During pregnancy, this medication must not be used unless clearly needed due to a risk of harm to the unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Becoming pregnant is not recommended during treatment with this medication and for at least 12 months after treatment is finished. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about using a reliable form of birth control (e.g., condoms, birth control pills).
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. You should not begin breast-feeding until treatment is finished and blood test show that there is no more rituximab in your body. Consult your doctor to decide when it is safe to start breast-feeding.
Headache, fever, chills, nausea, heartburn, flushing, weakness, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Many people using this medication have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: back/joint/muscle pain, increased thirst/urination, swelling of the hands/feet, tingling of the hands/feet...