Below you'll find some common questions that people have about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Rituxan. Click any of the questions you're curious about to see the answer.
While every person responds differently to treatment, 2 clinical trials have studied Rituxan + methotrexate in people who found that TNF inhibitor treatments did not work well enough for them. To read more about those patients' results on Rituxan, explore our Results >
When starting a treatment, there are many important factors to discuss with your doctor or nurse practitioner, including the potential risks and benefits. The FDA-approved Rituxan safety information includes the risk of some potentially serious and life-threatening side effects. To learn more about the possible side effects of Rituxan, please see the Important Side Effect Information page.
Like some other treatments for RA, Rituxan must be given directly into the bloodstream. So instead of being taken as a pill or an injection, it is given as an IV infusion. An IV infusion is a needle placed in a vein by a trained healthcare professional. When you receive your Rituxan infusion, it will be given to you in combination with another medication called methotrexate. Rituxan infusions will be administered 3-5 times a year at your doctor’s office, an infusion center, or a hospital. Each infusion typically lasts 4 to 6 hours, so it’s a good idea to plan accordingly.
You may be given additional medicine before each infusion to reduce the risk of side effects (this will add to the total time of your treatment). If you experience any discomfort during the infusion, seek immediate medical attention.
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 of Rituxan.
Rituxan should be given every 6 months or based on clinical evaluation, but no sooner than every 4 months (16 weeks). Each dose consists of 2 infusions given 2 weeks apart. Before each Rituxan treatment, your doctor will ask you questions about your general health to make sure Rituxan is still right for you. Tell your doctor about any side effects or new symptoms you have, symptoms that have gotten worse over time, or symptoms that will not go away.
There may be options to help you get the Rituxan your doctor has prescribed. Rituxan Immunology Access Solutions can help you understand your financial assistance options.
If your health insurance plan will not cover Rituxan, you and your doctor’s office can file an appeal. Contact your doctor to ask if you should file an appeal. We have resources to help you and your doctor file one. To learn more about your potential financial assistance options, visit our financial assistance page.*
Our patient resource center is dedicated to getting patients and caregivers to the right resources. Call 1-877-GENENTECH (1-877-436-3683) Monday-Friday, 6 AM - 5 PM PT with questions.
TNF, tumor necrosis factor.
*Rituxan Immunology Access Solutions cannot complete or submit an appeal for you.
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:
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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