Generic name: rituximab [ ri-TUX-i-mab ]
Brand names: Riabni, Rituxan, Ruxience, Truxima
Dosage form: intravenous solution (10 mg/mL; abbs 10 mg/mL; arrx 10 mg/mL; pvvr 10 mg/mL)
Drug classes: Antirheumatics, CD20 monoclonal antibodies
What is rituximab?
Rituximab belongs to a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. It is used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and works by killing cancer cells. Certain rituximab injection brands also treat rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, microscopic polyangiitis, and pemphigus vulgaris by blocking the activity of the part of the immune system that may damage the joints, veins, and other blood vessels.
Rituximab is used in adults alone or with other medications to treat various types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (a type of cancer that begins in a type of white blood cells that normally fights infection).
Rituximab is also used in adults with other medications to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (a type of cancer of the white blood cells).
Rituximab (Rituxan, Ruxience, Truxima) is also used in adults with methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, Xatmep, others) to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA; a condition in which the body attacks its own joints, causing pain, swelling, and loss of function) in adults who have already been treated with a certain type of medication called a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor.
Rituximab (Rituxan, Riabni, Ruxience, Truxima) is also used in adults and children 2 years of age and older along with other medications to treat granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's granulomatosis) and microscopic polyangiitis, which are conditions in which the body attacks its own veins and other blood vessels, which causes damage to organs, such as the heart and lungs.
Rituximab injection (Rituxan) is used to treat pemphigus vulgaris (a condition that causes painful blisters on the skin and the lining the mouth, nose, throat and genitals).
Rituximab may cause a serious brain infection that can lead to disability or death. Call your doctor right away if you have problems with speech, thought, vision, or muscle movement. These symptoms may start gradually and get worse quickly.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had hepatitis B. Rituximab can cause this condition to come back or get worse.
Severe skin problems can also occur during treatment with rituximab. Call your doctor if you have painful skin or mouth sores, or a severe skin rash with blistering, peeling, or pus.
Some side effects may occur during the injection or within 24 hours afterward. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel itchy, dizzy, weak, light-headed, short of breath, or if you have chest pain, wheezing, sudden cough, or pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest.
Before taking this medicine
Rituximab may cause a serious brain infection that can lead to disability or death. This infection may be more likely if have used an immunosuppressant drug in the past, or if you have received rituximab with a stem cell transplant.
To make sure rituximab is safe for you, tell your doctorr if you have ever had:
liver disease or hepatitis (or if you are a carrier of hepatitis B);
lung disease or a breathing disorder;
a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicines);
heart disease, angina (chest pain), or heart rhythm disorder; or
if you have used rituximab in the past, or you have had a severe allergic reaction to this medicine.
You should be up-to-date on any needed immunizations before starting treatment with rituximab. Tell your doctor if you (or a child receiving rituximab) have received any vaccines within the past 4 weeks.
Do not use rituximab if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using thus medicine and for at least 12 months after your last dose.
Do not breastfeed while using this medicine, and for at least 6 months after your last dose.
How is rituximab given?
Rituximab is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
Your doctor will perform blood tests to make sure you do not have conditions that would prevent you from safely using rituximab.
Rituximab is not given daily. Your schedule will depend on the condition being treated. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
Before each injection, you may be given other medications to prevent certain side effects of rituximab.
You will need frequent medical tests.
If you've ever had hepatitis B, using rituximab can cause this virus to become active or get worse. You may need frequent liver function tests while using this medicine and for several months after you stop.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using this medicine.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor if you miss an appointment for your rituximab injection.
What happens if I overdose?
Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid while receiving rituximab?
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using rituximab. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
Rituximab side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to rituximab: (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).
Some side effects may occur during the injection (or within 24 hours afterward). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel itchy, 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 may cause a serious brain infection that can lead to disability or death. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms (which may start gradually and get worse quickly):
confusion, memory problems, or other changes in your mental state;
weakness on one side of your body;
vision changes; or
problems with speech or walking.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other side effects, even if they occur several months after you receive rituximab, or after your treatment ends.
painful skin or mouth sores, or a severe skin rash with blistering, peeling, or pus;
redness, warmth, or swelling of the skin;
irregular heartbeats, chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder;
tiredness or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
signs of infection - fever, chills, cold or flu symptoms, cough, sore throat, mouth sores, headache, earache, pain or burning when you urinate; or
Common rituximab side effects may include:
low white and red blood cells (fever, chills, body aches, pale skin, unusual tiredness, infections);
swelling in your hands or feet;
depressed mood; or
cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.
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 other drugs will affect rituximab?
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
medicines to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or psoriasis - adalimumab, certolizumab, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, leflunomide, methotrexate, sulfasalazine, tocilizumab, tofacitinib, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with rituximab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
What are the ingredients in rituximab?
Active ingredient: rituximab
Rituxan: polysorbate 80, sodium chloride, sodium citrate dihydrate, and Water for Injection, USP.
Riabni: polysorbate 80, sodium chloride, sodium citrate dihydrate, and Water for Injection, USP. Hydrochloric acid is used to adjust the buffer solution pH.
Ruxience: edetate disodium dihydrate, L-histidine, L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, polysorbate 80, sucrose, and Water for Injection, USP.
Truxima: polysorbate 80, sodium chloride, tri-sodium citrate dihydrate, and Water for Injection, USP.
- Rituxan: Genentech, Inc., A Member of the Roche Group, 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080-4990
- Riabni: Amgen, Inc., One Amgen Center Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-1799
- Ruxience: Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals Cork, Ireland, P43 X336 U.S.
- Truxima: CELLTRION, Inc. 20, Academy-ro 51 beon-gil, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, 22014 Republic of Korea
Truxima (rituximab-abbs) is not a chemotherapy drug, rather it is a biologic that is targeted toward specific antigens (proteins). In this case, Truxima targets the CD20 antigen expressed on the surface of pre-B and mature B-lymphocytes. Truxima forms a complex with the CD20 antigen which causes B-cell death (lysis). Most cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia arise from B cells. Truxima is usually used together with chemotherapy treatments. Continue reading
In patients with hematological or blood cancers, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Rituxan’s success is measured in a number of ways. It is measured by looking at how long patients responded to treatment (median duration of response), how long they live without their disease progressing (progression-free survival) and how many patients respond to treatment (response rate).
Rituxan treatment improves outcomes in certain patients with NHL. Adding Rituxan alongside standard therapies enhances the response patients have to treatment and improves overall outcomes, including increasing the time patients live for without experiencing a progression of their disease.
Rituxan helps to improve overall survival in certain patients with CLL and also helps to increase the time patients live for without experiencing disease progression. Adding Rituxan alongside standard therapy enhances the response patients have to therapy. Continue reading
Rituximab infusion reactions are caused primarily by cytokine release in the body. Cytokines are immune system proteins in the body that help to fight infections but can cause an inflammatory response. Infusion reactions may cause hives, itching, shortness of breath, chest pain or dizziness and are a very common side effect of treatment with rituximab (Rituxan). Continue reading
Treatment with Rituxan (rituximab) successfully improves patient outcomes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis including reducing symptoms, reducing levels of fatigue and disability, and increasing health-related quality of life. It also slows the progression of structural damage in joints. Continue reading
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More about rituximab
- Check interactions
- Compare alternatives
- Reviews (133)
- Side effects
- Dosage information
- Patient tips
- During pregnancy
- Support group
- Drug class: antirheumatics
- En español
- Rituximab-abbs advanced reading
- Rituximab-arrx (Advanced Reading)
- Rituximab-pvvr (Advanced Reading)
Related treatment guides
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about rituximab.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use rituximab only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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