Rituximab belongs to a group of medicines
monoclonal antibodies. It is designed to recognize
specific proteins that are found on the surface of some lymphoma cells. The
monoclonal antibody recognizes the protein and locks onto it (like a key in a
lock). This may then trigger the body's immune system to attack and destroy the
Rituximab is an effective treatment
for NHL and CLL. It is used in combination with other chemotherapy
Rituximab can decrease
rheumatoid arthritis symptoms such as tender and swollen joints.
Side effects of rituximab are common and
Fever and chills. This is more common within
the first 1 to 2 hours of the first infusion.
Swelling of the face,
lips, and eyelids (angioedema).
In some cases, rituximab has been
associated with serious side effects such as breathing difficulty, heart
problems, or severe infection. For this reason, the use of rituximab is closely
Rituximab may make heart damage worse in people who
already have heart disease. Frequent tests are needed to monitor heart function
while this medicine is taken.
In some people who have a history of
hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, rituximab may cause
the virus to begin multiplying again, leading to severe liver problems. These
people should have tests to monitor liver function during and for several
months following rituximab treatment. Also, people who have a high risk of HBV
infection should be screened before starting treatment with rituximab to make
sure an HBV infection is not present.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Rituximab may cause birth
defects. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or if you wish to become
pregnant or father a child while you are taking it.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.