Information for Healthcare Providers / Patients

Rituxan® (rituximab [Immunology])

Alert

  • Information regarding distribution change for hospitals for Rituxan: Learn more

Side Effect Reporting

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.

What it Treats

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): with another prescription medicine called methotrexate, to reduce the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe active RA in adults, after treatment with at least one other medicine called a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonist has been used and did not work well enough.

Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) (Wegener’s Granulomatosis) and Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA): with glucocorticoids, to treat GPA and MPA.

People with serious infections should not receive Rituxan. It is not known if Rituxan is safe or effective in children.

Important Safety Information

Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

  • Infusion Reactions: may occur during or within 24 hours of the infusion. The patient’s doctor should give the patient medicines before their treatment. Symptoms can include hives, rash, itching, facial or oral swelling, sudden cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, feeling faint, racing heart, or chest pain
  • Severe Skin and Mouth Reactions: symptoms can include painful sores, ulcers, or blisters on the skin, lips or mouth; peeling skin; rash; or pustules
  • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Reactivation: may cause serious liver problems including liver failure and death. If patients have had hepatitis B or are carriers of HBV, receiving Rituxan could cause the virus to become an active infection again. Patient should not receive Rituxan if they have active HBV liver disease. The patient’s doctor will do blood tests to check for HBV infection prior to treatment and will monitor the patient during and for several months following their treatment
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): a rare, serious brain infection that can lead to severe disability and death and for which there is no known prevention, treatment, or cure. Symptoms can include difficulty thinking, loss of balance, changes in speech or walking, weakness on one side of thebody, or blurred or lost vision

Additional possible serious side effects of Rituxan:

Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

  • Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): may cause kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment, abnormal heart rhythm, and can lead to death. The patient’s doctor may give the patient medicines before their treatment to help prevent TLS
  • Serious Infections: can happen during and after treatment and can lead to death. These infections may be bacterial, fungal, or viral. Symptoms can include fever; cold or flu symptoms; earache or headache; pain during urination; white patches in the mouth or throat; cuts or scrapes that are red, warm, swollen, or painful
  • Heart Problems: symptoms can include chest pain and irregular heartbeats that may require treatment. The patient’s doctor may need to stop their treatment
  • Kidney Problems: the patient’s doctor should do blood tests to check how well the patient’s kidneys are working
  • Stomach and Serious Bowel Problems: can include blockage or tears in the bowel that can lead to death. Stomach area pain during treatment can be a symptom
  • Low Blood Cell Counts: the patient’s blood cell counts may be monitored during treatment

Common side effects during treatment with Rituxan:

  • infusion reactions
  • chills
  • infections
  • body aches
  • tiredness
  • low white blood cell counts

Other side effects include:

  • aching joints during or within hours of receiving an infusion
  • more frequent upper respiratory tract infections

Patients must tell their doctor if they are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. It is not known if Rituxan may harm the patient’s unborn baby or pass into the patient’s breast milk. Women should use birth control while using Rituxan and for 12 months after treatment.

Patients must tell their doctor about any side effect that bothers them or that does not go away.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Rituxan. For more information, patients should ask their doctor or pharmacist.

Report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. Report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

Please see the Rituxan Full Prescribing Information including Boxed WARNINGS, and the Medication Guide at www.rituxan.com.

Submit a Medical Inquiry

Have questions about our medicines? Email our medical communications group.

Patient Access

Genentech Access Solutions offers coverage support, patient assistance, other useful information needed for Rituxan for RA.

Patient Access

Genentech Access Solutions offers coverage support, patient assistance, other useful information needed for Rituxan for GPA and MPA.