Brand name: Rituxan®
Distributor: Genentech, Inc
rituximab is available by
FDA Approval: In 1997, Rituximab was approved by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the treatment of B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma resistant to
other chemotherapy drugs. The drug may be approved for more uses,
talk to your physician or pharmacist for information.
Indications: rituximab is used alone or in
combination with other medications to treat:
- follicular lymphoma stage III-IV
that is resistant to chemotherapy or relapse after chemotherapy;
- follicular lymphoma Stage III-IV
that had never been previously treated, in combination with CVP chemotherapy;
- Aggressive diffuse large b-cell CD20-positive Non Hodgkin's lymphoma (DLBCL), in combination
with CHOP chemotherapy.
Rituximab may also be prescribed to
treat other medical conditions that are not mentioned in this article; talk to your doctor or pharmacist for
is given by
injection into a vein
The dose of rituximab recommended to you can vary depending on your age, type of
being treated, and your body
surface area (BSA)
. If you are taking other drugs, you may be prescribed lower doses of rituximab.
rituximab is injected into a vein through an intravenous infusion site. The drug must be administered in a
hospital or health center that has sterilization equipment for its preparation. In absence of complications,
rituximab must be injected once weekly for 4 weeks. Rituximab should be administered with great care by an
oncologist or a health professional that has experience in drug chemotherapy.
most chemotherapy drug, Rituximab can damage the bone marrow, and cause a number of side effects: nausea,
vomiting, fatigue, etc. These effects are temporary and vary from one patient to another; it is important to
continue the treatment if there is no complications.
it is important to always report to your doctor the reaction of your body to the medication. Some people who
receive Rituximab may develop severe health problems. In fact, some die within 24 hours after they receive a
dose of Rituximab. Most of these deaths happened after the first dose of rituximab. Tell your doctor if you have
or have ever had chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a type of cancer that begins in the white blood cells;
mantle cell lymphoma, a fast-growing cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system; irregular heartbeat;
or heart or lung disease.
Mechanism of action (MOA):
Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody, a class of chemotherapy drugs; it slows or stops tumor progression by killing
cells that multiply rapidly (cancer cells and some normal cells).
Rituximab is given in hospital by professionals; although it is not impossible, the risk of overdose is very
difficult. An overdose of paclitaxel may cause a life threatening decrease in the number of blood cells in your
bone marrow and cause severe health problems. Even in the absence of overdose, rituximab can cause severe reactions
in some patients. Contact your health care provider immediately if you experience: fainting; shortness of breath, blurred
vision, pounding or irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness, swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat. Difficulty
breathing or swallowing should be reported immediately to your doctor.
treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma,
Rituximab can lead to the development of tumor lysis syndrome (a serious metabolic
disorder that is due to fast breakdown of cancer cells), which tend to lead to kidney failure and the need for
Some patients die within 24 hours after receiving a dose of rituximab. Before starting the treatment, it is
extremely important to tell your doctor all details about your medical history. During and after the treatment,
keep all appointments with your doctor.
dose: Rituximab is administered in hospital; it is basically difficult for you to
miss any dose if you keep all appointments of your doctor. Therefore, be present at each appointment to take all doses of paclitaxel that
your doctor has prescribed. If for some reasons you cannot go to the hospital for the treatment, contact your
oncologist before the date scheduled for the injection.
Rituximab is contraindicated or should be used with precaution in the following conditions:
- filling of airspaces
with fluid (pulmonary
who are breast-feeding
- having a
high number of circulating malignant cells
to Rituximab or one of its ingredients
to Chinese hamster
ovary (CHO) cells
women - if you are at childbearing age, talk to your doctor about contraception during treatment with
Interactions: if you are taking Rituximab, tell you to your doctor before taking aspirin,
vitamins, nutritional supplements, or St. John's wort. Certain medications can
increase the risk of side effects. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of these
- Medicines for hypertension.
In addition to cancer cells, rituximab also attack normal cells that multiply rapidly, causing adverse reaction in
some patients. Common rituximab side effects include:
- hair loss
- loss of
or back pain
If the side
effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, contact your doctor if you experience any
of these symptoms:
bruising or bleeding
throat, fever, chills, or other
pain or tightness
muscle or joint pain
- signs of
infection such as sore throat, fever and chills
- joint pain or
- blood in
urine or stools
- pain in
lower back or the side
or difficulty urinating.
nlm.nih.gov, medlineplus: Important Warning (about Rituximab)