Rituxan Side Effects, Indications and Dosage

You probably heard about Rituxan but you only have limited idea about it. Well, it has been the top-selling cancer drug used nowadays, but it is not just for cancer but for other medical conditions as well. In fact, further researches are being undertaken to explore other medical conditions that can be treated using this drug. But simply, what is Rituxan?

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Rituxan or rituximab is a cancer drug that obstructs cancer cells development and slows down their growth and spread on the body. It is combined with other cancer drugs in treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma while it is combined with methotrexate in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Aside from these, it is also used in treating Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). You might ask; are there side effects? Yes, there are. Read on.

Side Effects of Rituxan

Rituxan infusion reactions usually appear at a span of 24 hours after the infusion process. Infusion side effects may range from serious to less serious and these require doctor visits even if they appear several months subsequent to the first infusion treatment course.

Here are some of the serious side effects of rituximab.

1.    Unusual urinating

2.    Bleeding and more susceptible to bruising

3.    Flu symptoms, body aches, chills, cough and fever

4.    Stomach pain and severe constipation

5.    Abrupt weakness or numbness especially on one part of the body.

6.    Blurred vision, dizziness, speech or walking difficulties, confusion and balance deficiency

7.    Generally heavy and ill feeling, chest pain, sweating, nausea and pain spread onto the shoulder and arm.

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8.    Breathing difficulty and irregular heartbeat

9.    Jaundice, dark urine and depressed appetite; black, tarry or bloody stools

10. Skin rashes that might be itchy, blistering and peeling

Here are some of the less serious side effects of rituximab.

1.    Back pain and headache

2.    Inflammation on the feet or hands

3.    Muscle and joint pain

4.    Sweating at night

5.    Diarrhea, nausea and slight stomach pain

6.    Pain on the area where the intravenous needle is injected.

Rituxan Indications

Rituxan drug is primarily used as a cancer drug but it is also used in treating other medical conditions. The drug, combined with methotrexate, is also used as treatment for rheumatoid arthritis; which effectively reduce the symptoms of RA. Besides, it is also indicated to patients suffering from refractory follicular CD20-positive as single agent and previously untreated CLL combined with FC or fludaribine and cyclophosphamide.

Rituxan Dosage

When Rituxan is for cancer therapy, the doctor will base the dosage according to the patient’s body surface aspect which is assessed based on the patient’s weight and height. Besides, dosage will also vary depending on the treatment regimen including the cancer type being treated. When used in treating rheumatoid arthritis, the usual dosage is two 1000mg IV infusion with two week interval combined with methotrexate.


Rituxan is not administered to patients with acute allergic reaction to the drug and mouse protein. Although it remains unclear whether the drug will cause any harm to the unborn child, it is not advisable for pregnant mothers and even lactating mothers.

Although Rituxan is a very useful drug, you must seriously discuss with your physician all the benefits and risks the drug may have on your medical condition and weigh if it is the finest treatment option for your medical condition.

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1 Comment

  1. I have been placed on rituxan for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and CLL. My neurologist was excited about this, stating that he feels that it is very good for MS but that he can’t prescribe it just for MS. I got CLL after taking Tysabri for 31/2 years. It was noted on a routine pre-surgical workup
    for an unrelated reason. My oncologist said that he normally wouldn’t treat my CLL, he is using rituxan, which will treat both problems. So far, I have only two infusions and believe it or not, I really
    think I am walking better (my main problem) and have a better ability to absorb what I am reading!!
    Any thoughts on this? I am a physician and have had MS symptoms for 40 years ( I am 64). It was only diagnosed by MRI in 1992, after the process had gotten to the point where I was falling quite
    frequently and began having trouble with balance.

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