rituximab - injection, Rituxan
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, serious (sometimes fatal) skin reactions (e.g., Stevens-Johnson syndrome) have occurred in people taking this medication. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop any rash, blisters, peeling skin, or sores. These reactions can occur weeks to months after your treatment has ended.
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.
When large numbers of cancer cells are killed quickly, kidney failure can occur because the kidneys can have trouble getting rid of the dead cells. Tell your doctor immediately if there is a large change in the amount of urine, which could be a sign of a kidney problem. The risk is greater within the first 1-2 days after your treatment is begun. Kidney failure is more likely if you have a large number of cancer cells in the blood, a large tumor, or are being treated with cis-platinum. Laboratory tests (e.g., electrolytes, kidney function) may be performed to monitor your progress and check for side effects.
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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