Prescription onlyClass: Autoimmune

Rituxan

(rituximab)

Prescription onlyClass: Autoimmune
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Calms down your immune system.

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Our bottom line

Rituxan (Rituximab) is effective for treating multiple types of cancer and arthritis. That said, you'll need to watch for possibly serious side effects, especially infusion reactions.

Upsides

  • Treats leukemia, lymphoma, and blood vessel inflammation.
  • Also treats moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis that hasn't responded to anti-TNF treatment (but you'll need to take methotrexate too).
  • The chance of having a reaction to the infusion is highest during your first dose, but the risk decreases each time you get Rituxan (Rituximab). It usually happens within 30 minutes to 2 hours after starting the infusion.
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) is a targeted therapy that works differently than chemotherapy. Both work well when they're taken together, especially when treating CLL and NHL.
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Downsides

  • Only your doctor or other trained medical staff can administer Rituxan (Rituximab), so you'll need to go into an office or clinic for every dose.
  • Not the best choice if you have heart problems.
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) can stay in your body for up to 6 months after you complete treatment. Men and women who are able to have children need to use birth control for up to one year after finishing Rituxan (Rituximab).
  • Discuss with your doctor the serious heart, kidney, liver, or stomach problems that can happen while on Rituxan (Rituximab).
How it works

Rituxan (Rituximab) is a monoclonal antibody. It targets a specific protein on white blood cells that makes it easier for your immune system to find and destroy cancerous cells. It also relieves symptoms and slows the progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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Side effect rates for Rituxan (rituximab)

  • Any infection
  • Infusion reaction
  • Any serious infection
  • Cardiac side effect

Risks and Warnings for Rituxan (rituximab)

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  • Serious infusion reactions can occur at the time Rituxan (Rituximab) is given and within 24 hours. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you notice itching, sudden cough, dizziness, racing heartbeat, chest pain, or angioedema (life-threatening condition with swelling with or without hives). Your doctor can prescribe medication before your dose so the risk of having this happen is less.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Common concerns from people taking Rituxan (rituximab)

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Pregnancy
Kidneys and liver
  • Discuss with your doctor the serious heart, kidney, liver, or stomach problems that can happen while on Rituxan (Rituximab).