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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Rituxan

Generic Name: rituximab (Pronunciation: ri TUX i mab)

What is rituximab (Rituxan)?

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 are the possible side effects of rituximab (Rituxan)?

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 people receiving a rituximab injection have had a reaction to the infusion (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.

Rituximab increases the risk of a serious viral infection of the brain that can lead to disability or death. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as confusion, trouble concentrating, problems with speech or walking, vision problems, or weakness on one side of your body.

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

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, feeling weak or tired;
  • ongoing cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;
  • headache, earache, painful mouth ulcers, skin sores, warmth or swelling with skin redness;
  • pain or burning when you urinate, urinating less than usual;
  • severe skin rash with blistering, itching, peeling, or pus;
  • weak pulse, fainting, overactive reflexes;
  • muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction; or
  • lower back pain, blood in your urine, numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth.

Other common side effects may include:

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 is the most important information I should know about rituximab (Rituxan)?

You should not receive this medication if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to rituximab.

Some people receiving a rituximab injection have had a reaction to the infusion (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.

If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop using this medication, even months after stopping.

Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of a serious viral infection of the brain, such as: confusion, trouble concentrating, problems with speech or walking, vision problems, or weakness on one side of your body.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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