What is this medicine?
RITUXIMAB (ri TUX i mab) is a monoclonal antibody. It is used to treat certain types of cancer like non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. It is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (or Wegener's granulomatosis), microscopic polyangiitis, and pemphigus vulgaris.
How should I use this medicine?
This medicine is for infusion into a vein. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. This medicine is not approved for use in children.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
dizziness or feeling faint
fast, irregular heartbeat
low blood counts - this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth (this can be added for any serious or exfoliative rash that could lead to hospitalization)
signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
signs and symptoms of kidney injury like trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
signs and symptoms of liver injury like dark yellow or brown urine; general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms; light-colored stools; loss of appetite; nausea; right upper belly pain; unusually weak or tired; yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
muscle cramps or muscle pain
swelling of the ankles, feet, hands
What may interact with this medicine?
other medicines for arthritis like disease modifying antirheumatic drugs or tumor necrosis factor inhibitors
live virus vaccines
What if I miss a dose?
It is important not to miss a dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.
Where should I keep my medicine?
This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
infection (especially a virus infection such as hepatitis B, chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
immune system problems
lung or breathing disease, like asthma
recently received or scheduled to receive a vaccine
an unusual or allergic reaction to rituximab, mouse proteins, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine. You may need blood work done while you are taking this medicine.
This medicine can cause serious allergic reactions. To reduce your risk you may need to take medicine before treatment with this medicine. Take your medicine as directed.
In some patients, this medicine may cause a serious brain infection that may cause death. If you have any problems seeing, thinking, speaking, walking, or standing, tell your doctor right away. If you cannot reach your doctor, urgently seek other source of medical care.
Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine or for 12 months after stopping it. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine or for 6 months after stopping it.
June 15, 2018