"I did have a reaction where I began to itch. Fortunately, my infusion nurse was right there to help take care of it."
–Bobbi, taking Rituxan to treat her RA
Before you start exploring, take the time to read the side effect information.Roll over to read more
What does Rituxan treat?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): with another prescription medicine called methotrexate, to reduce the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe active RA in adults, after treatment with at least one other medicine called a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonist has been used and did not work well enough.
People with serious infections should not receive Rituxan. It is not known if Rituxan is safe or effective in children.
Important Side Effect Information
What is the most important information I should know about Rituxan?
Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can be fatal, including:
- Infusion reactions—infusion reactions are the most common side effect of Rituxan treatment. Serious infusion reactions can happen during or up to 24 hours after an infusion. During clinical trials, less than 1% of people taking Rituxan experienced serious infusion reactions
- Severe skin and mouth reactions—painful sores or ulcers on your skin, lips, or in your mouth; blisters; peeling skin; rash; or small, pus-filled blisters
- Return of hepatitis B virus (HBV)—if you previously had hepatitis B, Rituxan can cause the disease to become an active infection again, even if you are not showing any symptoms
- PML (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy)—a rare but serious brain infection caused by a virus
What are the possible side effects of Rituxan?
Rituxan can cause serious and life-threatening side effects, including:
- TLS (tumor lysis syndrome)—has occurred in patients using Rituxan to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It is caused by cancer cells breaking down and can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment or cause abnormal heart rhythm
- Serious infections—these can happen during and after treatment and can be fatal. During clinical trials, 2% of people taking Rituxan developed serious infections
- Heart problems—Rituxan may cause chest pain and irregular heartbeat. Your doctor or healthcare team may provide treatment or decide to stop treating with Rituxan if you experience these symptoms
- Kidney problems—especially if you are taking it for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Your doctor should do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working
- Stomach and serious bowel problems that can sometimes be fatal—tell your doctor right away if you have any stomach area pain during treatment with Rituxan
- Changes in blood cell counts—during treatment with Rituxan, your doctor or healthcare team should do regular blood tests to monitor your blood cell counts
What are common side effects during treatment with Rituxan?
- body aches
- low white blood
Other side effects include:
- aching joints during
or within hours of
receiving an infusion
- more frequent
Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.
These are not all of the possible side effects with Rituxan. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at
1-800-FDA-1088 or www.FDA.gov/medwatch. Or to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555.
Important side effect information
It's important to monitor how you feel during and after your Rituxan® (rituximab) infusions. Rituxan can cause side effects, some of which can be serious. So be sure to tell your doctor if you experience any type of discomfort.
If you have any questions about this information, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.
- Next section
- After your first course