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Rituxan

Generic Name: rituximab (ri TUX i mab)
Brand Names: Rituxan
Rituxan is used in combination with other medicines to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, microscopic polyangiitis, and pemphigus vulgaris. Learn about side effects, interactions and indications.
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Drug Information:
Rituxan (rituximab) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. It is also used to treat other non-cancer conditions. Rituxan is an intravenous (IV) infusion given by a healthcare professional. It is a prescription medicine used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat the following conditions: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia in adults; rheumatoid arthritis in adults; granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis (rare disorders that cause inflammation of blood vessels and other tissues in the body) in adults and children 2 years of age and older; or Learn more

Rituxan Side Effects

Rituxan Side Effects

Note: This document contains side effect information about rituximab. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Rituxan.

For the Consumer

Applies to rituximab: intravenous solution

Warning

Intravenous route (Solution)

Fatal infusion reactions may occur within 24 hours of rituximab infusion; approximately 80% of fatal reactions occurred with the first infusion. Monitor patients and discontinue rituximab infusion after severe reactions. Severe and potentially fatal mucocutaneous reactions can occur. Reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) may occur; in some cases, it results in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, or death. Screen patients for HBV infection prior to treatment. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and death can also occur.

Along with its needed effects, rituximab (the active ingredient contained in Rituxan) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking rituximab:

More common

  • Black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • blurred vision
  • body aches or pain
  • burning or stinging of the skin
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • confusion
  • cough
  • difficulty with breathing
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • ear congestion
  • fever
  • flushed, dry skin
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • headache
  • hives or welts, itching, rash
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or genitals
  • lower back or side pain
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • noisy breathing
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • seizures
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • stomach pain
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • sweating
  • swelling of the tongue or throat
  • swollen glands
  • tightness of the chest
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • unusual weight gain or loss
  • vomiting

Less common

  • Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • blisters on the trunk, scalp, or other areas
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles”, or tingling feeling
  • decreased frequency and amount of urine
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with moving
  • discouragement
  • feeling sad or empty
  • irregular heartbeat
  • irritability
  • joint or muscle pain
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • lump or growth on the skin
  • muscle cramp, pain, or stiffness
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • painful blisters on the trunk of the body
  • pain or redness at the injection site
  • pain, swelling, or redness in the joints
  • pounding or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, itchy lining of the eye
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • stabbing pain
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping

Incidence not known

  • Blue-yellow color blindness
  • blurred vision or other change in vision
  • burning or stinging of the skin
  • decreased vision
  • dilated neck veins
  • dry cough
  • extreme tiredness or weakness
  • eye pain, tearing
  • feeling of discomfort, illness, or weakness
  • irregular breathing
  • nosebleed
  • painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals
  • sensitivity of the eye to light
  • severe abdominal or stomach pain
  • severe vomiting, sometimes with blood
  • sores, welts, or blisters
  • stomach cramps
  • swelling, stiffness, redness, or warmth around many joints
  • swollen lymph glands
  • vision loss

Some side effects of rituximab may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Fear
  • hair loss
  • lack or loss of strength
  • night sweats
  • thinning of the hair
  • throat irritation

Less common

  • Agitation or anxiety
  • bone pain
  • burning, dry, or itching eyes
  • change in taste
  • discharge, excessive tearing
  • dry eyes
  • excessive muscle tone
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • heartburn
  • increase in body movements
  • lightheadedness
  • muscle tension
  • redness, pain, or swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
  • sensation of spinning
  • sleepiness
  • swelling of the stomach

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to rituximab: intravenous solution

Cardiovascular

Very common (10% or more): Hypotension (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Left ventricular failure, supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia, angina, myocardial ischemia, bradycardia

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Heart failure, vasculitis (predominately cutaneous), leukocytoclastic vasculitis

Dermatologic

Very common (10% or more): Night sweats (15%), rash (15%), pruritus (14%), angioedema (11%), alopecia

Common (1% to 10%): Flushing, urticaria, skin disorder

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Severe bullous skin reactions, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis (Lyell's Syndrome)

Postmarketing reports: Severe mucocutaneous reactions

Gastrointestinal

Very common (10% or more): Nausea (23%), abdominal pain (14%), diarrhea (10%), vomiting (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Throat irritation, dysphagia, stomatitis, constipation, dyspepsia, anorexia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abdominal enlargement

Frequency not reported: GI perforation

Postmarketing reports: Bowel obstruction

Hematologic

Very common (10% or more): Lymphopenia (48%), leukopenia (14%), neutropenia (14%), thrombocytopenia (12%)

Common (1% to 10%): Blood lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) increased, pancytopenia, granulocytopenia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anemia, coagulation disorders, aplastic anemia, hemolytic anemia, lymphadenopathy, transient aplastic anemia, hemolytic anemia

Postmarketing reports: Late neutropenia, marrow hypoplasia, Grade 3 to 4 prolonged or late-onset neutropenia, hyperviscosity syndrome in Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, prolonged hypogammaglobulinemia

Hepatic

Very common (10% or more): Increased ALT (13%)

Frequency not reported: Hepatitis B reactivation with fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure

Hypersensitivity

Common (1% to 10%): Hypersensitivity

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Anaphylaxis

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Tumor lysis syndrome, cytokine release syndrome, serum sickness

Immunologic

Very common (10% or more): Infection (bacterial, viral) (31%)

Common (1% to 10%): Sepsis, febrile infection, herpes zoster, fungal infections, infections of unknown etiology, acute bronchitis, sinusitis

Rare (less than 0.1%): Serious viral infections

Postmarketing reports: Lupus-like syndrome, serum sickness, increase in fatal infections in HIV-associated lymphoma, increased incidence of Grade 3 and 4 infections

Local

Very common (10% or more): Acute infusion reactions (e.g., pain, fever, chills, rigors, pruritus, urticaria/rash, angioedema, sneezing, throat irritation, cough, and/or bronchospasm, with or without associated hypotension or hypertension) (27%)

Metabolic

Very common (10% or more): Hypophosphatemia (12%)

Common (1% to 10%): Hyperglycemia, peripheral edema, hyperuricemia, weight decrease, peripheral edema, face edema, increased LDH, hypocalcemia

Musculoskeletal

Very common (10% or more): Back pain (10%), myalgia (10%), arthralgia (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Neck pain, hypertonia

Frequency not reported: Polyarticular arthritis

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (19%), dizziness (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia, paresthesia, hypoesthesia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dysgeusia

Postmarketing reports: Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES)/reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS)

Ocular

Common (1% to 10%): Lacrimation disorder, conjunctivitis

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Severe vision loss

Postmarketing reports: Uveitis, optic neuritis

Oncologic

Postmarketing reports: Disease progression of Kaposi's sarcoma

Other

Very common (10% or more): Fever (53%), chills (33%), asthenia (26%), fatigue (13%), pain (12%)

Common (1% to 10%): Migraine, asthenia, tinnitus, ear pain, tumor pain, flushing, malaise, cold syndrome, shivering, multi-organ failure

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hearing loss

Psychiatric

Common (1% to 10%): Anxiety, depression, nervousness, agitation, insomnia

Renal

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Renal failure

Respiratory

Very common (10% or more): Cough (13%), rhinitis (12%), epistaxis (11%), dyspnea (10%), bronchitis

Common (1% to 10%): Bronchospasm, sinusitis, pneumonia, chest pain

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Upper respiratory tract infection, asthma, bronchiolitis obliterans (fatal), lung disorder, hypoxia

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Interstitial lung disease

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Respiratory failure

Frequency not reported: Lung infiltration

Postmarketing reports: Pleuritis

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by BestRx Medical Team Last updated on 1/1/2020.

Source: Drugs.com Rituxan