rituximab, Rituxan

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained

PREPARATIONS: Injection: 100 mg/10 ml and 500 mg/50 ml

DRUG INTERACTIONS:

  • Combining rituximab with cisplatin or amphotericin B (Fungizone) increases the risk of kidney failure.
  • The combination of certolizumab pegol (Cimzia) with rituximab may increase immune suppression and risk of infections.

PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING SAFETY:

  • There are not enough studies to draw conclusions about the safety of rituximab in pregnant women. Contraceptive methods are recommended if rituximab is used in women of childbearing age and for up to 12 months after stopping therapy.
  • Since rituximab is an antibody that can be secreted into breast milk and absorbed by the infant, it has the potential for harming nursing infants. Women who are breastfeeding should avoid rituximab therapy and not begin nursing until rituximab is no longer present in the blood.

STORAGE: Rituximab should be stored at 2 C - 8 C (36 F - 36 F) and protected from sunlight.

DOSING:

  • Rituximab is administered by intravenous infusion. Patients should receive acetaminophen (Tylenol) and an antihistamine prior to the infusion to reduce the severity of infusion reactions.
  • Patients with rheumatoid arthritis also should receive methylprednisolone  (Medrol, Depo-Medrol) 100 mg or a similar drug 30 minutes prior to the infusion to reduce the severity of infusion reactions.
  • Non-Hodgkin's B-cell lymphomas: 375 mg/m2 weekly for 4 to 8 weeks or longer.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: 375 mg/m2 for the first cycle then 500 mg/m2 every 28 days for cycles 2 to 6.
  • Wegener's granulomatosis or microscopic polyangiitis: 375 mg/m2
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Two 1000 mg infusions are administered two weeks apart and then are repeated every 16 to 24 weeks.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2016

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