"I usually watch a couple movies during my infusions. And the nurses are always there to make sure I'm comfortable." -Monica, taking Rituxan since 2006
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Rituxan can result in serious side effects, some of which could be life threatening. These include:
- infusion reactions
- tumor lysis syndrome (TLS)
- severe skin and mouth reactions
- progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)
Other serious, potentially life-threatening side effects are:
- hepatitis B infection that may become active again
- serious infections
- heart problems
- low blood cell counts
Common side effects include infections and infusion reactions. Before treatment with Rituxan, patients should tell their doctor if they have an infection, including one that will not go away or that keeps coming back. If patients experience any symptoms or side effects during or after Rituxan treatment, they should seek immediate medical attention. These are not all of the possible side effects with Rituxan. Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
Please read the Rituxan full Prescribing Information, including the Medication Guide. If you have any questions about this information, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.
WHAT IS RITUXAN?
Rituxan® (rituximab) is a prescription medicine used in adults with another prescription medicine called methotrexate, to reduce the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe active RA, after at least one other medicine called a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor has been used and did not work well enough.
Your first course of treatment
As you may know, 1 course of Rituxan® (rituximab) is generally given every 6 months, and it consists of 2 infusions given 2 weeks apart. If you're not familiar with infusions, here are a few things you should know:
- 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
- Unlike other forms of treatment, infusions are given by a trained healthcare professional who is there with you to help manage the process and monitor for reactions
What to expect with your first infusion
- Your doctor's office will schedule appointments for both of your infusions, which may be given at your doctor's office, an infusion center, or a hospital
- Each infusion usually takes 4 to 6 hours, so plan accordingly. 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 consider eating before, or bringing along a snack. Just be sure to check with the facility first that bringing food is OK
- Remember to review the Rituxan Medication Guide with your healthcare provider before each infusion
- Infusion reactions are the most common side effect of Rituxan treatment. Serious reactions can happen during your infusions or within 24 hours after. Your doctor should give you medicines before your infusions to decrease your change of having a severe reaction.
- Next section
- What to discuss with your doctor