Rituxan is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.
Rituxan is used in combination with other cancer medicines to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Rituxan is also used in combination with another drug called methotrexate to treat symptoms of adult rheumatoid arthritis. Rituxan has been successful in treating Wegener’s Granulomatosis.
Some people receiving a Rituxan injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, weak, nauseated, light-headed, itchy, or if you have a fever, chills, muscle pain, sneezing, sore throat, trouble breathing, or pain in your chest or shoulders. Infusion reactions often occur within the first 24 hours after the start of your Rituxan infusion.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects, even if they occur several months after you receive Rituxan, or after your treatment ends.
chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
1. uneven heartbeats, wheezing or trouble breathing; or
2. urinating more or less than usual;
3. fever, chills, cough, body aches, flu symptoms;
4. easy bruising or bleeding;
5. a red, raised, blistering, scaly, itchy, or peeling skin rash;
6. severe constipation or stomach pain;
7. black, bloody, or tarry stools;
8. confusion, dizziness, loss of balance, blurred vision, and problems with speech or walking; or
9. nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as the following:
1. pain where the IV needle is placed;
2. headache, back pain;
3. mild stomach pain, nausea, or diarrhea;
4. swelling in your hands or feet;
5. muscle or joint pain;
6. runny or stuffy nose; or
7. night sweats.
This article has more information about how the drug is given and drug interactions. If you are preparing to take this drug, read this article. It has some good information.
My Analysis: As for now, the treatments are pretty expensive. The WG patients who take this treatment have had reactions to other medications. I have only heard of one or two who have had problems with this treatment. On the whole, this drug has been very good (with the least side-effects) when you consider the main treatment for WG is cytoxan.