As initial treatment, RITUXAN plus FC chemotherapy may be given for CLL. These drugs work in different ways to find and attack the cells where cancer starts.
RITUXAN targets and attaches to the CD20 protein found on the surface of blood cells with cancer and some healthy blood cells. Once attached to the CD20 protein, RITUXAN is thought to work in different ways including:
In addition, RITUXAN can also harm healthy cells in your body.
FC chemotherapy attacks fast-growing cells. These include cancer cells and healthy cells like hair and the lining of your intestines.
Combining RITUXAN with FC chemotherapy may improve CLL treatment response.
In one study (called CLL8), patients who received RITUXAN plus FC chemotherapy as initial treatment experienced an average of 3.3 years without their cancer advancing compared with 2.6 years with FC chemotherapy by itself. Eighty-six percent of patients who received RITUXAN plus FC chemotherapy went into either partial or complete remission for a period of time, compared with 73% of patients who received FC chemotherapy by itself. These results were from a clinical trial and may not be the same as what you experience.
You will have up to 6 cycles, or rounds, of treatment. You will be given RITUXAN and FC chemotherapy at the beginning of each cycle. Each cycle is 28 days.
A full course of RITUXAN plus FC chemotherapy will take approximately 6 months to complete.
Severe side effects reported more often in patients receiving RITUXAN and FC chemotherapy vs. FC chemotherapy alone were infusion-related reactions; and decreased blood cell counts, including decreases in white blood cells with or without a fever. Severe side effects reported more commonly in the elderly (≥70 years of age) versus younger patients were decreased blood cell counts, including decreases in white blood cells with or without a fever and red blood cells.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients 70 years of age or older were not shown to benefit from RITUXAN in combination with FC chemotherapy as an initial treatment.
RITUXAN is available by prescription only.
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