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How do you prepare for a Rituxan infusion?

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on April 19, 2023.

Official answer


Rituxan (rituximab) is an antibody therapy that can be given alone or in combination with chemotherapy. It targets a protein called CD20 and is used for the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), as well as other conditions. Rituxan is administered via an intravenous infusion, which involves administering the therapy through a needle placed in a vein in your arm. Your infusion will take place at an infusion center.

Preparing for a Rituxan infusion

Prepare beforehand with your doctor or nurse

  • Read. Read your Medication Guide for Rituxan and ask your doctor about any questions you have.
  • Medications, vitamins and supplements. Tell your doctor about all the medications you take, including prescription medication, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins and supplements. It’s especially important that you mention if you have taken a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor medication or a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD).
  • Conditions. Tell your doctor about any conditions that you have including heart, lung and kidney conditions or a weakened immune system.
  • Infections. Tell your doctor about any infections you may have, including chronic ones such as hepatitis B virus (HBV).
  • Vaccinations. Tell your doctor about any recent or scheduled vaccinations. Include ones for yourself, as well as those given to other members of your household.
  • Blood tests and screening. Get any blood tests done that your doctor recommends, including screening for HBV and a complete blood count. Confirm with your doctor the best timing for your blood tests in relation to your scheduled infusion.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Preparing at home

  • Urgent concerns. If you have any urgent concerns or questions then don’t wait for your scheduled infusion. Contact your doctor for advice.
  • Transportation. It can help to have someone drive you to and from your appointments, especially for your first infusion. Sometimes the medications you need alongside your Rituxan infusion can make you drowsy or dizzy, so you may find you always need someone to drive you home.
  • Allow time. Leave in plenty of time so that you are not late for your appointment. Also, plan on being at the infusion center for a while. Your first Rituxan infusion is likely to take 4-6 hours or more because extra care is taken to monitor for infusion-related reactions. Subsequent infusions are likely to take 3-4 hours or less.
  • Visitors. Check with your infusion center first, but you should be able to take another adult along to keep you company.
  • Childcare. Arrange childcare if necessary. Young children may not be allowed in the infusion center.
  • What to wear. Wear comfortable clothing. Layers are ideal. Avoid strong smelling fragrance because other patients may be sensitive to the smell.
  • Pack:
    • Paperwork. Pack the recommended ID, insurance card or other forms you may need to take with you.
    • Food and drink. Pack a drink and something to eat - you'll be there a while.
    • Activities. Pack something to pass the time - a book, crossword puzzle or device and some headphones for example.
    • Medications. Pack medications, such as regular pain medication, you may need during your infusion.

During and after your infusion you may experience side effect or adverse reactions that make you feel unwell.


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