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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Mabthera®; Truxima®

Rituximab - What is it for

Rituximab is a type of protein called a “monoclonal antibody” used for the treatment of several conditions by depleting the body’s immune function for several months to reduce inflammation and improve your symptoms. You may start to feel its effect within 4-6 weeks. The effect of rituximab usually lasts for between 6- 9 months.


  • Rituximab is also used for cancer treatment. It is not within the scope of this material to cover information for such conditions.

Rituximab - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Rituximab cause?

Early side effects
  • Infusion reaction (Fever, wheeziness, a rash or fall in blood pressure or you may feel unwell) during or shortly after the infusion.
    • Inform the nurse who is giving you the infusion so they can slow the rate down.
  • Mild nausea and vomiting may occur
    • There are medications available, which may prevent or decrease these side effects. If you are given these medications, take them as directed
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint and muscle pain or weakness
Delayed side effects
  • More likely to fall ill
    • Tell your doctor or specialist nurse straight away if you develop a sore throat, fever, burning pain when passing urine or other signs of infection, or any other new symptoms that concern you. You should also see your doctor if you develop chickenpox or shingles or come into contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles. It is important to try to avoid any unnecessary contact with people known to have an infection.
    • A drop in the blood cell counts may occur a few days after treatment.

What are some rare but serious side effects that you need to seek medical advice immediately?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately
  • Fever of 38°C or higher
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising, or black tarry stools
  • Severe skin rash with painful blistering or peeling of the skin
  • Palpitations, muscle cramps or seizures
  • Persistent dry cough or shortness of breath
  • Severe abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting

Before taking Rituximab , what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to rituximab, other proteins which are like rituximab, or any of the other ingredients of this medicine
  • You have an active infection at the moment
  • You have a weak immune system.
  • You have severe heart failure or severe uncontrolled heart disease.
  • You are pregnant, think that you might be pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. This is because rituximab can cross the placenta and may affect your baby.
  • You are planning to breastfeed
  • You are planning for any vaccination
  • You are planning for any surgery
  • You have or have ever had viral hepatitis or any other liver disease

Always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicine, including medicines on prescription from your GP, medicines bought from a pharmacy or any herbal or complementary medicines.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Rituximab ?

Rituximab - Dosage and How to Use

How should Rituximab be used?

  • Rituximab is given through a drip into a vein (intravenous infusion) in hospital by a specially trained nurse. The first infusion takes around six hours, although following infusions will be a bit shorter.
  • Before you are given rituximab you will be prescribed other medications to reduce possible side effects from the infusion such as pain and fever.
  • Usually two infusions are given two weeks apart.  

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Then take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose. (or change to whatever is appropriate).

What should I do if I overdose?

Rituximab - Handling

How should I handle Rituximab safely?

Rituximab - Storage

How should I store Rituximab ?

;#Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.;#

How should I dispose of Rituximab safely?

Rituximab - Additional Information

  • Updated on 12/31/2022 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth


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