Health Library

  • rituximab
 

rituximab

Pronunciation: ri TUX i mab

Brand: Rituxan

What is the most important information I should know about rituximab?

Multum calldoc

Rituximab may cause a serious viral infection of the brain that can lead to disability or death. Call your doctor right away if you have any change in your mental state, decreased vision, or problems with speech or walking. These symptoms may start gradually and get worse quickly.

If you have ever had hepatitis B, rituximab can cause this condition to come back or get worse. You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function during treatment and for several months after you stop using this medicine. Call your doctor at once if you have upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Multum calldoc

Severe skin problems can also occur during treatment with rituximab. Call your doctor if you have painful skin or mouth sores, or a severe skin rash with blistering, peeling, or pus.

Multum emt

Some side effects may occur during the injection (or within 24 hours after the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, weak, light-headed, short of breath, or if you have chest pain, wheezing, sudden cough, or pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest.

What is rituximab?

Rituximab is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Rituximab is used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Rituximab is also used in combination with another drug called methotrexate to treat symptoms of adult rheumatoid arthritis.

Rituximab is also used in combination with steroid medicines to treat certain rare disorders that cause inflammation of blood vessels and other tissues in the body.

Rituximab may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving rituximab?

Multum donot

You should not receive this medication if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to rituximab, or if you are allergic to mouse protein.

To make sure rituximab is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease or hepatitis B (or if you are a carrier of hepatitis B);
  • kidney disease;
  • systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE);
  • lung disease or a breathing disorder;
  • a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicines);
  • a recent or active infection, including herpes, shingles, cytomegalovirus, chickenpox, parvovirus, West Nile virus, hepatitis C, or any infection that keeps coming back or does not clear up;
  • a history of heart disease, angina (chest pain), or heart rhythm disorder; or
  • if you have used certain arthritis medicines in the past, including adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi), etanercept (Enbrel), or infliximab (Remicade).
Multum nopreg

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether rituximab will harm an unborn baby. Rituximab can affect the immune system of a newborn if the mother receives the medication during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Use effective birth control while you are using this medication and for at least 12 months after your treatment ends.

Multum nobrfeed

It is not known whether rituximab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is rituximab given?

Your doctor will perform blood tests to make sure you do not have conditions that would prevent you from safely using rituximab.

Rituximab is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Before you receive rituximab, you may be given other medications to prevent certain side effects that rituximab can cause.

While using rituximab, you may need frequent blood tests.

Multum emt

If you have ever had hepatitis B, rituximab can cause this condition to come back or get worse. You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function during treatment and for several months after you stop using this medicine.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using rituximab.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor if you miss an appointment for your rituximab injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while receiving rituximab?

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using rituximab, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

What are the possible side effects of rituximab?

Multum emt

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; chest tightness, trouble breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Some side effects may occur during the injection (or within 24 hours after the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, weak, light-headed, short of breath, or if you have chest pain, wheezing, sudden cough, or pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest.

Multum calldoc

Rituximab may cause a serious viral infection of the brain that can lead to disability or death. Call your doctor right away if you have any change in your mental state, thinking problems or confusion, decreased vision, or problems with speech or walking. These symptoms may start gradually and get worse quickly.

Multum calldoc

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other side effects, even if they occur several months after you receive rituximab, or after your treatment ends.

  • fever, chills, flu symptoms, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, feeling weak or tired;
  • ongoing cough, sinus pain, wheezing, or breathing problems;
  • ongoing diarrhea and weight loss;
  • headache, earache, warmth or swelling with skin redness;
  • pain or burning when you urinate;
  • severe skin reaction --painful skin or mouth sores, or a severe skin rash with blistering, peeling, or pus;
  • liver problems --upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
  • signs of tumor cell breakdown --lower back pain, blood in your urine, little or no urinating; numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth; muscle weakness or tightness; fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, trouble breathing; fainting.

Common side effects may include:

  • runny or stuffy nose, sneezing;
  • nausea, diarrhea;
  • muscle pain; or
  • swelling in your hands or feet.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect rituximab?

Other drugs may interact with rituximab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about rituximab.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 10.01. Revision date: 11/14/2013.

Your use of the content provided in this service indicates that you have read, understood and agree to the End-User License Agreement, which can be accessed by clicking on this link.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Additional Resources

First Nurse

  • First Nurse: Talk to one of our nurses 24 hours a day for free health care advice, resources and referrals! Call 515-239-6877 or 800-524-6877.
  • Health Library: Search our online library containing information on health conditions, medications, medical tests, and more.

Symptom Checker

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker