Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
Rituximab must be given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for a few hours. You may also receive medicines to help prevent possible allergic reactions to the injection.
You will be watched closely for unwanted side effects while you are receiving this medicine.
Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have hepatitis B, kidney disease, heart disease, heart rhythm problems, lupus, or stomach or bowel problems. Also tell your doctor if you are scheduled for any surgery.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had a reaction to murine (mice or rat) proteins. Murine proteins are also used in other medicines.
Rituximab may cause a serious side effect called an infusion reaction. This can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Check with your doctor right away if you have a rash; itching; swelling of the face, tongue, and throat; trouble with breathing; or chest pain after you get the injection.
If you have a severe skin reaction, you should stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away. Symptoms may include blistering or loosening of the skin; red, swollen, irritated, or scaly skin; skin peeling or fissures; fingernail changes; or fever or chills.
This medicine may increase your risk of developing infections, including a serious brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections while you are using this medicine. Wash your hands often. Tell your doctor if you have any kind of infection before you start using this medicine. Also tell your doctor if you have ever had an infection that would not go away or an infection that kept coming back.
Call your doctor right away if you start to have a cough, weight loss, night sweats, fever, chills, or flu-like symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, headache, or feeling generally ill. These may be signs that you already have an infection.
Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.