Rituxan - Rituximab Injection
What is this medication?
RITUXIMAB (ri TUX i mab) treats leukemia and lymphoma. It works by blocking a protein that causes cancer cells to grow and multiply. This helps to slow or stop the spread of cancer cells. It may also be used to treat autoimmune conditions, such as arthritis. It works by slowing down an overactive immune system. It is a monoclonal antibody.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): RIABNI, Rituxan, RUXIENCE, truxima
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Chest pain
- Heart disease
- Immune system problems
- Infection, such as chickenpox, cold sores, hepatitis B, herpes
- Irregular heartbeat or rhythm
- Kidney disease
- Low blood counts, such as low white cells, platelets, red cells
- Lung disease
- Recent or upcoming vaccine
- An unusual or allergic reaction to rituximab, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
This medication is injected into a vein. It is given by a care team in a hospital or clinic setting.
A special MedGuide will be given to you before each treatment. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While this medication may be prescribed for children as young as 6 months for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
Keep appointments for follow-up doses. It is important not to miss your dose. Call your care team if you are unable to keep an appointment.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
- Live vaccines
This medication may also interact with the following:
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medication.
You may need blood work while taking this medication.
This medication can cause serious infusion reactions. To reduce the risk your care team may give you other medications to take before receiving this one. Be sure to follow the directions from your care team.
This medication may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your care team for advice if you get a fever, chills, sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
Call your care team if you are around anyone with measles, chickenpox, or if you develop sores or blisters that do not heal properly.
Avoid taking medications that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your care team. These medications may hide a fever.
This medication may cause serious skin reactions. They can happen weeks to months after starting the medication. Contact your care team right away if you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms with a rash. The rash may be red or purple and then turn into blisters or peeling of the skin. You may also notice a red rash with swelling of the face, lips, or lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.
In some patients, this medication may cause a serious brain infection that may cause death. If you have any problems seeing, thinking, speaking, walking, or standing, tell your care team right away. If you cannot reach your care team, urgently seek another source of medical care.
Talk to your care team if you may be pregnant. Serious birth defects can occur if you take this medication during pregnancy and for 12 months after the last dose. You will need a negative pregnancy test before starting this medication. Contraception is recommended while taking this medication and for 12 months after the last dose. Your care team can help you find the option that works for you.
Do not breastfeed while taking this medication and for at least 6 months after the last dose.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions or angioedema—skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, arms, or legs, trouble swallowing or breathing
- Bowel blockage—stomach cramping, unable to have a bowel movement or pass gas, loss of appetite, vomiting
- Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, confusion or trouble speaking
- Heart attack—pain or tightness in the chest, shoulders, arms, or jaw, nausea, shortness of breath, cold or clammy skin, feeling faint or lightheaded
- Heart rhythm changes—fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, chest pain, trouble breathing
- Infection—fever, chills, cough, sore throat, wounds that don't heal, pain or trouble when passing urine, general feeling of discomfort or being unwell
- Infusion reactions—chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, feeling faint or lightheaded
- Kidney injury—decrease in the amount of urine, swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet
- Liver injury—right upper belly pain, loss of appetite, nausea, light-colored stool, dark yellow or brown urine, yellowing skin or eyes, unusual weakness or fatigue
- Redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- Stomach pain that is severe, does not go away, or gets worse
- Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS)—nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decrease in the amount of urine, dark urine, unusual weakness or fatigue, confusion, muscle pain or cramps, fast or irregular heartbeat, joint pain
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Joint pain
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Unusual weakness or fatigue
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
This medication is given in a hospital or clinic. It will not be stored at home.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Rituxan
- Rituxan may cause temporary low blood pressure. If you are taking medication to reduce your blood pressure, check with your doctor or nurse as to whether you should take it as usual or not before the infusion.
- You may experience shortness of breath, feel flushed or dizzy during the infusion. You will most likely receive medication before the infusion, and you will be closely monitored during the infusion.
- For flu-like symptoms, keep warm with blankets and drink plenty of liquids. There are medications that can help reduce the discomfort caused by chills.
- Drink 2 to 3 quarts of fluid for the first 48 hours after each infusion, unless you were told to restrict your fluid intake.
- Rituxan infrequently causes nausea. But if you should experience nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals. Sucking on lozenges and chewing gum may also help.
- You may experience drowsiness or dizziness; avoid driving or engaging in tasks that require alertness until your response to the drug is known.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be avoided. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
When to contact your doctor or health care provider:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or chills (possible signs of infection)
- Shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort; swelling of your lips or throat
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not emergency situations. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Develop a rash or sore joints
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medications)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24-hour period)
- Other signs of infection, sore throat, cough, redness or inflammation, or pain on urination
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.