Rituxan 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.
How Rituxan is given as an induction treatment
Rituxan is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion once weekly for 4 weeks to induce remission if you have active GPA or MPA.
An IV infusion is given to you through a needle that's placed in a vein. Here are some things you should know about IV infusions:
How Rituxan is given as a follow-up treatment
The dosing for Rituxan is slightly different if your GPA or MPA is already under control. Your doctor may start by giving 2 IV infusions, 2 weeks apart. After that, you will receive a single IV infusion every 6 months or based on your doctor's evaluation of your symptoms.
GPA, granulomatosis with polyangiitis; MPA, microscopic polyangiitis.
Rituxan is a prescription medicine used to treat:
Adults with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): with another prescription medicine called methotrexate, to reduce the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe active RA, 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 Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) (Wegener’s Granulomatosis) and Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA) ages 2 years and above: with glucocorticoids.
Adults with Pemphigus Vulgaris (PV): to treat moderate to severe PV.
RITUXAN is not indicated in children less than 2 years of age with GPA or MPA or in children with conditions other than GPA or MPA.
Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:
Infusion-Related Reactions: Infusion-related reactions are very common side effects of Rituxan treatment. Serious infusion-related reactions can happen during your infusion or within 24 hours after your infusion of Rituxan. Your healthcare provider should give you medicines before your infusion of Rituxan to decrease your chance of having a severe infusion-related reaction.
Tell your healthcare provider or get medical help right away if you get any of these symptoms during or after an infusion of Rituxan:
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Reactivation: Before you receive your Rituxan treatment, your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check for HBV infection. 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. Your healthcare provider will monitor you for hepatitis B infection during and for several months after you stop receiving Rituxan. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get worsening tiredness, or yellowing of your skin or white part of your eyes during treatment with Rituxan.
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.
Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have new or worsening symptoms or if anyone close to you notices these symptoms:
Before receiving Rituxan, tell your healthcare provider if you:
Rituxan can cause serious side effects, including:
Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): TLS is caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells. TLS can cause you to have:
TLS can happen within 12 to 24 hours after an infusion of Rituxan. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check you for TLS. Your healthcare provider may give you medicine to help prevent TLS.
Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms of TLS:
Your healthcare provider will stop treatment with Rituxan if you have severe, serious, or life-threatening side effects.
In adults with GPA or MPA, the most common side effects of Rituxan also include:
Other side effects include:
These are not all of the possible side effects with Rituxan.
Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA‐1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835‐2555.
Please see the Rituxan Prescribing Information and Medication Guide including Most Serious Side Effects for additional Important Side Effect Information.
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