Rituxan Side Effects
Generic name: rituximab
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 13, 2023.
Note: This document contains side effect information about rituximab. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Rituxan.
Applies to rituximab: intravenous solution.
Intravenous route (Solution)
Warning: Fatal Infusion-Related Reactions, Severe Mucocutaneous Reactions, Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation, and Progressive Multifocal LeukoencephalopathyFatal infusion-related reactions within 24 hours of rituximab infusion; approximately 80% of fatal reactions occurred with first infusion. Monitor patients and discontinue rituximab-arrx infusion for severe reactions.Severe mucocutaneous reactions, some with fatal outcomes.Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death.Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) resulting in death.
Serious side effects of Rituxan
Along with its needed effects, rituximab (the active ingredient contained in Rituxan) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking rituximab:
- Black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- bloody urine
- blurred vision
- body aches or pain
- chest pain or tightness
- clay-colored stools
- dark urine
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty in moving
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- dry mouth
- ear congestion
- flushed, dry skin
- fruit-like breath odor
- increased cough
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- itching, skin rash
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or genitals
- loss of appetite
- loss of voice
- lower back or side pain
- muscle pain or stiffness
- noisy breathing
- pain in the joints
- pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
- painful or difficult urination
- pale skin
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- pounding in the ears
- rapid weight gain
- slow or fast heartbeat
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- stomach pain
- stuffy or runny nose
- swollen glands
- tingling of the hands or feet
- trouble breathing
- unexplained weight loss
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- unusual weight gain or loss
- vomiting of blood
- yellow eyes or skin
- headache, severe and throbbing
- lack or loss of strength
Incidence not known
- Back pain
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- blue-yellow color blindness
- chest discomfort
- cough producing mucus
- decreased vision
- dilated neck veins
- dry cough
- eye pain
- feeling of discomfort
- general feeling of discomfort, illness, or weakness
- high fever
- irregular breathing
- irregular heartbeat
- joint swelling
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- red, irritated eyes
- redness, soreness, or itching skin
- sores, welts, or blisters
- stomach pain or cramps
- swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
Other side effects of Rituxan
Some side effects of rituximab may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Night sweats
- throat irritation
- Acid or sour stomach
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- feeling of warmth
- muscle cramps
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- stomach discomfort or upset
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to rituximab: intravenous solution.
Very common (10% or more): Hypotension (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Flushing, urticaria, skin disorder
Postmarketing reports: Severe mucocutaneous reactions[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Nausea (23%), abdominal pain (14%), diarrhea (10%), vomiting (10%)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abdominal enlargement
Frequency not reported: GI perforation
Postmarketing reports: Late neutropenia, marrow hypoplasia, Grade 3 to 4 prolonged or late-onset neutropenia, hyperviscosity syndrome in Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, prolonged hypogammaglobulinemia[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Increased ALT (13%)
Frequency not reported: Hepatitis B reactivation with fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Hypersensitivity
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Anaphylaxis
Very common (10% or more): Infection (bacterial, viral) (31%)
Rare (less than 0.1%): Serious viral infections
Very common (10% or more): Acute infusion reactions (e.g., pain, fever, chills, rigors, pruritus, urticaria/rash, angioedema, sneezing, throat irritation, cough, and/or bronchospasm, with or without associated hypotension or hypertension) (27%)[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Hypophosphatemia (12%)
Very common (10% or more): Back pain (10%), myalgia (10%), arthralgia (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Neck pain, hypertonia
Very common (10% or more): Headache (19%), dizziness (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia, paresthesia, hypoesthesia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dysgeusia
Common (1% to 10%): Lacrimation disorder, conjunctivitis
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Severe vision loss
Very common (10% or more): Fever (53%), chills (33%), asthenia (26%), fatigue (13%), pain (12%)
Very common (10% or more): Cough (13%), rhinitis (12%), epistaxis (11%), dyspnea (10%), bronchitis
Common (1% to 10%): Bronchospasm, sinusitis, pneumonia, chest pain
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Interstitial lung disease
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Respiratory failure
Frequency not reported: Lung infiltration
Postmarketing reports: Pleuritis[Ref]
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More about Rituxan (rituximab)
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- Drug class: antirheumatics
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Related treatment guides
1. Product Information. Rituxan (rituximab). Genentech. 2001.
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. UK Summary of Product Characteristics.
3. Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. APPGuide online. Australian prescription products guide online. http://www.appco.com.au/appguide/default.asp 2006.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.