Rituximab, sold under the brand name Rituxan among others, is a medication used to treat certain autoimmune diseases and types of cancer.
The reference site for Rituximab
WHAT IS Rituximab?
Rituximab is a cancer (antineoplastic) medication. It works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells by slowing their growth and spread in the body.
Rituximab is also used in the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Additionally, this medication can be used alone or in combination with other chemotherapeutic drugs. Specifically, very good results have been seen when used in combination with the CHOP chemotherapy regimen (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone).
Rituximab is sold as Rituxan® in the United States.
Brand Name(s): Rituxan; Mabthera
CAS nº: 174722-31-7
(rih tux ih mab)
The sections below will provide you with more specific information and guidelines related to rituximab and its correct use. Please read them carefully.
Rituximab was initially approved by the FDA in 1997 for lymphoma that was refractory to other chemotherapy regimens. The original approval followed the availability of the McLaughlin et al study data.
It is now standard therapy in the initial treatment of aggressive lymphomas (e.g. diffuse large B cell lymphoma) in combination with CHOP chemotherapy.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Rituximab is an intravenous drug that is used to treat B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. Other monoclonal antibodies include trastuzumab (Herceptin®) and gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg®).
Tumor cells (like most normal cells) have receptors on their surfaces. Molecules on the outside of the cell can attach to these receptors. When they do, they can cause changes to occur within the cells. One receptor, present in more than 90% of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, is called CD20. Molecules that attach to CD20 can affect the growth and development of the tumor cells and, sometimes, the production of new tumor cells. Rituximab is thought to attach to the CD20 receptor and cause the tumor cells to disintegrate (lyse). In some non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, it also prevents the production of more tumor cells.
Rituximab is a man-made antibody that was developed using cloning and recombinant DNA technology from human and murine (mice or rat) genes.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication has not been approved for any alternative uses other than those mentioned in the product information section.
Dosage and using this medicine
Rituximab should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.
This particular drug is administered intravenously (into a vein).
Your doctor will determine the correct amount and frequency of treatment with rituximab depending upon the type of cancer being treated and other factors. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding the treatment schedule.
Moreover, your doctor will probably want you to have regularly scheduled blood tests and other medical evaluations during treatment with rituximab to monitor progress and side effects.
What special precautions should I follow?
BEFORE TAKING RITUXIMAB:
Always inform your doctor if you have liver disease, kidney disease, any type of infection, had hepatitis B or liver problems, lung or breathing problems, or a history of heart disease or irregular heart beats. The use of rituximab may be dangerous if you have any of the conditions listed above.
Furthermore, some drugs may interact with rituximab. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products during treatment with rituximab.
Some patients treated with rituximab have reported reactivation of the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Individuals who are at high risk of HBV infection (risk factors include, but are not limited to, having unprotected sex with an infected person, sharing needles when injecting illegal drugs, being stuck with a used needle) should be screened before beginning rituximab therapy. Carriers of hepatitis B should also be closely monitored during therapy. Talk to your doctor before taking rituximab if you have hepatitis B or have engaged in activities that may have exposed you to the hepatitis B virus.
Rituximab is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether rituximab will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not use rituximab without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Additionally, birth control should be used during and for 12 months following treatment with rituximab.
It is not known whether rituximab passes into breast milk. Do not take rituximab without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Please contact your doctor if you miss a dose of rituximab.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Possible side effects from rituximab may include:
fever, rigors and chills
decreased blood pressure
pain at the site of the tumor
Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
nausea or vomiting
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
an allergic reaction (including difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; low blood pressure; or hives)
lung problems (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, increased coughing, or chest pain)
heart problems (irregular heart beats, chest pain)
little or no urine production (may indicate kidney problems)
unusual bleeding or bruising
fever or chills
a rash or skin reaction
Other side effects have also been reported. It is important that you discuss with your doctor any side effect that occurs during treatment with rituximab.
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Rituximab vials should always be stored in the refrigerator. Do not freeze or shake the vials, and they should be protected from direct sunlight.
Do not use the vial beyond the expiration date stamped on the carton it came with.
On the other hand, rituximab solutions for infusion can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Rituximab solutions for infusion have been shown to be stable for an additional 24 hours at room temperature. However, since rituximab solutions do not contain a preservative, diluted solutions should be stored in the refrigerator.
In case of an emergency/overdose
If for any reason an overdose of rituximab is suspected contact your healthcare provider immediately. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call the local emergency services on 911.
Symptoms of a rituximab overdose tend to be similar to side effects caused by this medication, although often more severe.
PICTURES OF RITUXIMAB MEDICATION
Below you will find images and specific information on the principal types of rituximab that exist, including their respective brand name(s), strength, inscription codes, manufacturers and/or distributors.
The information below includes general information and guidelines for patients taking this medication and should never be used to substitute professional medical advice that can be provided by a qualified physician or family doctor.
Strength(s): 100 MG
Imprint: Rituximab Rituxan
Manufacturer: GENENTECH INC.
Strength(s): 500 MG
Imprint: Rituximab Rituxan
Manufacturer: GENENTECH INC.