GENERIC NAME: RITUXIMAB - INJECTION (rye-TUX-ih-mab)
BRAND NAME(S): Rituxan
WARNING: Rituximab may infrequently cause serious (sometimes fatal) side effects including severe breathing problems (e.g., hypoxia, pulmonary infiltrates, acute respiratory distress syndrome) or heart problems (e.g., heart attack, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure). These effects are more likely if you already have had a serious reaction to rituximab. Your doctor will carefully watch you during treatment and may stop or slow down your treatment if you have any signs of a reaction. If these serious side effects occur, they will usually happen within two hours from the start of your first treatment (IV infusion) with rituximab. However, severe side effects might occur during any rituximab treatment, or several weeks to months after your last treatment, so keep all your follow-up appointments. Seek immediate medical attention if you have trouble breathing (e.g., cough, wheezing), itching, swelling (especially of the throat/lips), dizziness, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, or chest pain. See also the How To Use section.
Rarely, people taking this medication have had serious (sometimes fatal) skin reactions (such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome). Get medical help right away if you develop any rash, blisters, peeling skin, or sores on your skin, lips, or in your mouth.
Rarely, a serious (sometimes fatal) brain infection (Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy-PML) has occurred in people taking this medication. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop any signs of PML, including vision problems, loss of balance/coordination, or confusion.
Rituximab may cause serious (possibly fatal) liver disease in people who have a current or past infection with hepatitis B. This may occur during treatment or up to 2 years after treatment is finished. Before starting treatment with this medication, your doctor may order a test to see if you have the hepatitis B infection. Your doctor may also order blood tests and watch for symptoms of liver disease during treatment and for months after your last dose of this medication. Get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of liver damage, including: persistent nausea/vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.
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