rituximab IV Warnings
Rituximab may infrequently cause serious (sometimes fatal) side effects including severe breathing problems (e.g., hypoxia, pulmonary infiltrates, acute respiratory distress syndrome) or heart problems (e.g., heart attack, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure). These effects are more likely if you already have had a serious reaction to rituximab. Your doctor will carefully watch you during treatment and may stop or slow down your treatment if you have any signs of a reaction. If these serious side effects occur, they will usually happen within two hours from the start of your first treatment (IV infusion) with rituximab. However, severe side effects might occur during any rituximab treatment, or several weeks to months after your last treatment, so keep all your follow-up appointments. Seek immediate medical attention if you have trouble breathing (e.g., cough, wheezing), itching, swelling (especially of the throat/lips), dizziness, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, or chest pain. See also the How To Use section.
Rarely, people taking this medication have had serious (sometimes fatal) skin reactions (such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome). Get medical help right away if you develop any rash, blisters, peeling skin, or sores on your skin, lips, or in your mouth.
Rarely, a serious (sometimes fatal) brain infection (Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy-PML) has occurred in people taking this medication. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop any signs of PML, including vision problems, loss of balance/coordination, or confusion.
When large numbers of cancer cells are killed quickly, kidney failure can occur because the kidneys can have trouble getting rid of the dead cells. Tell your doctor immediately if there is a large change in the amount of urine, which could be a sign of a kidney problem. The risk is greater within the first 1-2 days after your treatment is begun. Kidney failure is more likely if you have a large number of cancer cells in the blood, a large tumor, or are being treated with cis-platinum. Laboratory tests (e.g., electrolytes, kidney function) may be performed to monitor your progress and check for side effects.
rituximab IV Uses
Rituximab is used alone or with other medications to treat certain types of cancer (e.g., non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). It is a type of medication called a monoclonal antibody. It works by attaching to certain blood cells from your immune system (B cells) and killing them. It is also used with other monoclonal antibodies and radioactive drugs to treat certain cancers.
Rituximab is also used with methotrexate to treat moderate-to-severe forms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is usually used for arthritis only after other medications have not worked. It can decrease joint pain and swelling. It is also used to treat certain types of blood vessel disease (such as Wegener's granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis).How to use rituximab IV
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using rituximab and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Your doctor should prescribe other medications (such as acetaminophen, an antihistamine, methylprednisolone) for you to take before each treatment to help reduce side effects, such as fever and chills. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions.
This medication is given by slow injection into a vein by a health care professional as directed by your doctor. The dosage and treatment schedule are based on your medical condition, other medications you may be taking, and response to treatment.
Ask your doctor if you should take your regular medications (e.g., drugs for high blood pressure) before your treatment.
rituximab IV Side Effects
See also Warning section.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
If you have a current or past infection with hepatitis B or other virus infections (e.g., herpes, JC virus), rituximab may infrequently cause the infection to return or worsen. This may happen during treatment or up to 1 year after treatment is finished. Very serious liver disease could occur. Before starting treatment with this medication, your doctor may order a test to see if you have the hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B, you may be given antiviral medications to control the disease. Get medical help right away if you develop signs of a new or returning infection or liver disease such as: persistent stomach/abdominal pain, extreme tiredness, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.
This medication can cause a decrease in blood cells (cytopenia), which can cause bleeding problems and lower the body's ability to fight an infection. This serious side effect can happen days, weeks, or months after your treatment has finished. Notify your doctor promptly if you develop any of the following side effects: easy bleeding/bruising, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, signs of an infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat, painful urination).
A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
rituximab IV Precautions
Before using rituximab, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other mouse protein medications; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood disorders (e.g., thrombocytopenia), heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat, angina), current or returning infections, lung problems (e.g., pulmonary infiltrates), previous severe reaction to monoclonal antibody treatment, planned surgery/vaccinations, virus infection (e.g., chickenpox, hepatitis B or C, herpes).
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.
To lower your risk of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
Caution should be used when using this in the elderly because they may be at greater risk for heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat) or lung problems (e.g., pneumonia).
During pregnancy, this medication must not be used unless clearly needed due to a risk of harm to the unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Becoming pregnant is not recommended during treatment with this medication and for at least 12 months after treatment is finished. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about using a reliable form of birth control (e.g., condoms, birth control pills).
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. You should not begin breast-feeding until treatment is finished and blood test show that there is no more rituximab in your body. Consult your doctor to decide when it is safe to start breast-feeding.
rituximab IV Interactions
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: other anti-cancer drugs (e.g., cis-platinum, fludarabine), drugs for high blood pressure (e.g., enalapril, metoprolol, verapamil), other drugs that weaken the immune system/increase the risk of infection (e.g., azathioprine, tofacitinib, cyclosporine, natalizumab, corticosteroids such as prednisone), recent or planned immunizations (e.g., polio vaccine taken by mouth, measles vaccines).
rituximab IV Overdose
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.NOTES:
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood count, platelet count, electrolytes, hepatitis B virus, kidney/liver function) may be performed to monitor for side effects and response to treatment.MISSED DOSE:
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule.STORAGE:
Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised July 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.