Like some other rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatments, Rituxan® (rituximab) must be given directly into the bloodstream in order for it to be effective. So instead of being taken as a pill or an injection, it is given as an infusion, which is a needle placed in a vein by a healthcare professional.

  • Infusions are a relatively common form of treatment used for a variety of conditions
  • They may take more time than other forms of treatment, but in RA they're usually given less often
  • Infusions are given by a trained healthcare professional who is there with you to help manage the process and monitor for reactions


  • Your doctor's office will schedule appointments for the first course of treatment (2 infusions given 2 weeks apart), which may be given at your doctor's office, an infusion center, or a hospital
  • Infusions can last several hours, so most people take something along to help pass the time, like a book or some music
  • There are no special rules for what you can eat or drink before, during, or after an infusion. So some people like to eat before or bring a snack along. Just be sure to check with the facility first that bringing food is allowed
  • It's important to review the Rituxan Medication Guide with a healthcare provider before each infusion

What is the most important information I should know about Rituxan?

Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

  • Infusion-Related Reactions: Infusion-related reactions are the most common side effect of Rituxan treatment. Serious infusion-related reactions can happen during your infusion or within 24 hours after your infusion
  • Severe Skin and Mouth Reactions: Tell your healthcare provider if you get any of these symptoms during treatment with Rituxan: painful sores or ulcers on your skin, lips, or in your mouth; blisters; peeling skin; rash; or pustules
  • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Reactivation: If you have had hepatitis B or are a carrier of hepatitis B virus, receiving Rituxan could cause the virus to become an active infection again. Hepatitis B reactivation may cause serious liver problems, including liver failure and death. You should not receive Rituxan if you have active hepatitis B liver disease
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): PML is a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus that can happen in people who receive Rituxan. People with weakened immune systems can get PML. PML can result in death or severe disability. There is no known treatment, prevention, or cure for PML

Please see the Important Side Effect Information page and the Rituxan Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for additional Important Side Effect Information, including Most Serious Side Effects.


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