BIOLOGIC/DISEASE-MODIFYING ANTIRHEUMATIC DRUG
Rituxan is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response to TNF antagonist therapies. It is indicated to be used in combination with methotrexate.
Rituxan is considered a biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). It is a genetically engineered antibody, or protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize substances. Rituxan is believed to work by inhibiting B-lymphocyte cells and preventing them from attacking the connective tissues.
How do I take it?
Rituxan is administered as two intravenous infusions, 15 days apart. Infusion usually requires two to four hours. Rituxan begins taking effect about six weeks after the second infusion. Effects may last for up to six months. You can receive another course of Rituxan six months after the second infusion.
Your doctor may order regular tests to monitor your blood cell counts while you are taking Rituxan.
Consult your doctor before receiving vaccines while taking Rituxan.
Use effective birth control while you are on Rituxan.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Rituxan.
The FDA-approved label for Rituxan lists common side effects including infusion reactions, fever, chills, low white blood cell counts, weakness, respiratory tract infections, the common cold, urinary tract infections, and bronchitis.
Rare but serious side effects listed for Rituxan include tumor lysis syndrome, severe infections, heart problems, kidney damage, intestinal damage, and fetal harm.
Rituxan can cause life-threatening side effects. Rituxan has caused severe infusion reactions in some people. In rare cases, Rituxan has been linked to a serious brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Tell your doctor immediately if you experience neurological symptoms such as confusion, weakness on one side of the body, vision changes, difficulty talking or walking, or trouble concentrating. Rituxan can cause hepatitis B virus reactivation as well as severe skin rash and mouth sores.
You may be more likely to contract infections, including serious infections, due to decreased immune system function while taking Rituxan. Contact your doctor if you develop signs of infection such as fever, cough, trouble breathing, white patches in the mouth, pain or burning during urination, or unusual vaginal discharge.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Rituxan — Genentech
Rituximab (Intravenous Route) — Mayo Clinic