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RITUXAN® (rituximab) is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with:
- Relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular, CD20-positive, B-cell NHL as a single agent
- Previously untreated follicular, CD20-positive, B-cell NHL in combination with first-line chemotherapy and, in patients achieving a complete or partial response to RITUXAN in combination with chemotherapy, as single-agent maintenance therapy
- Non-progressing (including stable disease), low-grade, CD20-positive, B-cell NHL, as a single agent, after first-line CVP chemotherapy
- Previously untreated diffuse large B-cell, CD20-positive NHL in combination with CHOP or other anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimens
- Previously untreated and previously treated CD20-positive CLL in combination with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide (FC)
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNING: FATAL INFUSION REACTIONS, SEVERE MUCOCUTANEOUS REACTIONS, HEPATITIS B VIRUS REACTIVATION and PROGRESSIVE MULTIFOCAL LEUKOENCEPHALOPATHY
- Infusion Reactions: RITUXAN administration can result in serious, including fatal infusion reactions. Deaths within 24 hours of RITUXAN infusion have occurred. Approximately 80% of fatal infusion reactions occurred in association with the first infusion. Monitor patients closely. Discontinue RITUXAN infusion for severe reactions and provide medical treatment for Grade 3 or 4 infusion reactions
- Severe Mucocutaneous Reactions: Severe, including fatal, mucocutaneous reactions can occur in patients receiving RITUXAN
- Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Reactivation: HBV reactivation can occur in patients treated with RITUXAN, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death. Screen all patients for HBV infection before treatment initiation, and monitor patients during and after treatment with RITUXAN. Discontinue RITUXAN and concomitant medications in the event of HBV reactivation
- Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML), including fatal PML, can occur in patients receiving RITUXAN
Warnings and Precautions
- RITUXAN can cause severe, including fatal, infusion reactions. Severe reactions typically occurred during the first infusion with time to onset of 30-120 minutes
- RITUXAN-induced infusion reactions and sequelae include urticaria, hypotension, angioedema, hypoxia, bronchospasm, pulmonary infiltrates, acute respiratory distress syndrome, myocardial infarction, ventricular fibrillation, cardiogenic shock, anaphylactoid events, or death
- Premedicate patients with an antihistamine and acetaminophen prior to dosing. Institute medical management (e.g. glucocorticoids, epinephrine, bronchodilators, or oxygen) for infusion reactions as needed. Depending on the severity of the infusion reaction and the required interventions, temporarily or permanently discontinue RITUXAN. Resume infusion at a minimum 50% reduction in rate after symptoms have resolved
- Closely monitor the following patients: those with pre-existing cardiac or pulmonary conditions, those who experienced prior cardiopulmonary adverse reactions, and those with high numbers of circulating malignant cells (≥25,000/mm3)
Severe Mucocutaneous Reactions
- Mucocutaneous reactions, some with fatal outcome, can occur in patients treated with RITUXAN. These reactions include paraneoplastic pemphigus, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, lichenoid dermatitis, vesiculobullous dermatitis, and toxic epidermal necrolysis
- The onset of these reactions has been variable and includes reports with onset on the first day of RITUXAN exposure. Discontinue RITUXAN in patients who experience a severe mucocutaneous reaction. The safety of readministration of RITUXAN to patients with severe mucocutaneous reactions has not been determined
Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure and death, can occur in patients treated with drugs classified as CD20-directed cytolytic antibodies, including RITUXAN. Cases have been reported in patients who are hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive and also in patients who are HBsAg negative but are hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) positive. Reactivation also has occurred in patients who appear to have resolved hepatitis B infection (i.e., HBsAg negative, anti-HBc positive and hepatitis B surface antibody [anti-HBs] positive)
- HBV reactivation is defined as an abrupt increase in HBV replication manifesting as a rapid increase in serum HBV DNA level or detection of HBsAg in a person who was previously HBsAg negative and anti-HBc positive. Reactivation of HBV replication is often followed by hepatitis, i.e., increase in transaminase levels. In severe cases increase in bilirubin levels, liver failure, and death can occur
- Screen all patients for HBV infection by measuring HBsAg and anti-HBc before initiating treatment with RITUXAN. For patients who show evidence of prior hepatitis B infection (HBsAg positive [regardless of antibody status] or HBsAg negative but anti-HBc positive), consult with physicians with expertise in managing hepatitis B regarding monitoring and consideration for HBV antiviral therapy before and/or during RITUXAN treatment
- Monitor patients with evidence of current or prior HBV infection for clinical and laboratory signs of hepatitis or HBV reactivation during and for several months following RITUXAN therapy. HBV reactivation has been reported up to 24 months following completion of RITUXAN therapy
- In patients who develop reactivation of HBV while on RITUXAN, immediately discontinue RITUXAN and any concomitant chemotherapy, and institute appropriate treatment. Insufficient data exist regarding the safety of resuming RITUXAN treatment in patients who develop HBV reactivation. Resumption of RITUXAN treatment in patients whose HBV reactivation resolves should be discussed with physicians with expertise in managing hepatitis B
Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy
- JC virus infection resulting in PML and death can occur in RITUXAN-treated patients with hematologic malignancies or with autoimmune diseases. The majority of patients with hematologic malignancies diagnosed with PML received RITUXAN in combination with chemotherapy or as part of a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Most cases of PML were diagnosed within 12 months of their last infusion of RITUXAN
- Consider the diagnosis of PML in any patient presenting with new-onset neurologic manifestations. Evaluation of PML includes, but is not limited to, consultation with a neurologist, brain MRI, and lumbar puncture. Discontinue RITUXAN and consider discontinuation or reduction of any concomitant chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy in patients who develop PML
Tumor Lysis Syndrome
- Acute renal failure, hyperkalemia, hypocalcemia, hyperuricemia, or hyperphosphatemia from tumor lysis, some fatal, can occur within 12−24 hours after the first infusion of RITUXAN in patients with NHL. A high number of circulating malignant cells (≥25,000/mm3) or high tumor burden, confers a greater risk of TLS
- Administer aggressive intravenous hydration and anti-hyperuricemic therapy in patients at high risk for TLS. Correct electrolyte abnormalities, monitor renal function and fluid balance, and administer supportive care, including dialysis as indicated
- Serious, including fatal, bacterial, fungal, and new or reactivated viral infections can occur during and following the completion of RITUXAN-based therapy. Infections have been reported in some patients with prolonged hypogammaglobulinemia (defined as hypogammaglobulinemia >11 months after rituximab exposure)
- New or reactivated viral infections included cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, parvovirus B19, varicella zoster virus, West Nile virus, and hepatitis B and C. Discontinue RITUXAN for serious infections and institute appropriate anti-infective therapy
- RITUXAN is not recommended for use in patients with severe, active infections
Cardiovascular Adverse Reactions
- Cardiac adverse reactions, including ventricular fibrillation, myocardial infarction, and cardiogenic shock may occur in patients receiving RITUXAN. Discontinue infusions for serious or life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Perform cardiac monitoring during and after all infusions of RITUXAN for patients who develop clinically significant arrhythmias, or who have a history of arrhythmia or angina
- Severe, including fatal, renal toxicity can occur after RITUXAN administration in patients with NHL. Renal toxicity has occurred in patients who experience tumor lysis syndrome and in patients with NHL administered concomitant cisplatin therapy during clinical trials. The combination of cisplatin and RITUXAN is not an approved treatment regimen. Monitor closely for signs of renal failure and discontinue RITUXAN in patients with a rising serum creatinine or oliguria
Bowel Obstruction and Perforation
- Abdominal pain, bowel obstruction and perforation, in some cases leading to death, can occur in patients receiving RITUXAN in combination with chemotherapy. In postmarketing reports, the mean time to documented gastrointestinal perforation was 6 (range 1−77) days in patients with NHL. Evaluate if symptoms of obstruction such as abdominal pain or repeated vomiting occur
- The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines following RITUXAN therapy has not been studied and vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended before or during treatment
- Based on human data, RITUXAN can cause fetal harm due to B-cell lymphocytopenia in infants exposed to rituximab in-utero. Advise pregnant women of the risk to a fetus. Females of childbearing potential should use effective contraception while receiving RITUXAN and for 12 months following the last dose of RITUXAN
Additional Important Safety Information
- The most common Grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions in clinical trials of NHL and CLL were infusion reactions, neutropenia, leukopenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and infections. Additionally, lymphopenia and lung disorder were seen in NHL trials; and febrile neutropenia, pancytopenia, hypotension, and hepatitis B were seen in CLL trials
- The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥25%) in clinical trials of NHL and CLL were infusion reactions. Additionally, fever, lymphopenia, chills, infection, and asthenia were seen in NHL trials; and neutropenia was seen in CLL trials
- Pregnancy and Nursing Mothers: Based on human data, RITUXAN can cause adverse developmental outcomes including B-cell lymphocytopenia in infants exposed to RITUXAN in-utero. Advise pregnant women of the risk to a fetus. There are no data on the presence of rituximab in human milk, the effect on the breastfed child, or the effect on milk production. Since many drugs including antibodies are present in human milk, advise a lactating woman not to breastfeed during treatment and for at least 6 months after the last dose of RITUXAN due to the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed infants
Attention Healthcare Provider: Provide Medication Guide to patient prior to RITUXAN infusion.
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.