FAQs

Q & A

Q.
What is Rituxan?
A.

Rituxan (rituximab) is a prescription medication that is used in combination with glucocorticoids to treat adults with Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) or Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA). People with serious infections should not receive Rituxan. Rituxan was the only FDA-approved therapy for adults with GPA and MPA.

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Q.
Who is Rituxan for?
A.

Rituxan is used to treat adults with GPA and MPA. People with serious infections should not receive Rituxan. It is not known if Rituxan is safe or effective in children.

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Q.
Has Rituxan been proven effective?
A.

Rituxan, in combination with glucocorticoids, has been proven effective in putting GPA and MPA into complete remission.

In the RAVE trial, 64% of patients taking Rituxan and glucocorticoids experienced remission at 6 months, compared with 53% of patients taking cyclophosphamide (control group).

Talk with your doctor to see if Rituxan may be right for you. Individual results may vary.

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Q.
How is Rituxan thought to work?
A.

Rituxan is thought to work differently than other medications used to treat GPA and MPA. That's because it selectively targets only B-cells, a certain type of white blood cell that is found in the immune system that other treatments don't selectively target. It is believed that B-cells may play a role in GPA and MPA. Rituxan targets these cells and is thought to reduce them in the body. Keep in mind that even though Rituxan selectively targets B-cells, side effects relating to low B-cell counts may still occur.

Because Rituxan affects your immune system, it can increase your chances of getting serious infections. These serious infections can happen during and after treatment with Rituxan, and can lead to death. Rituxan can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. Types of serious infections that can happen with Rituxan include bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. After receiving Rituxan, some patients have developed low levels of certain antibodies in their blood for a long period of time (longer than 11 months). Some of these patients with low antibody levels developed infections. Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of infection:

  • fever
  • cold symptoms, such as runny nose or sore throat that do not go away
  • flu symptoms, such as cough, tiredness, and body aches
  • earache or headache
  • pain during urination
  • white patches in the mouth or throat
  • cuts, scrapes or incisions that are red, warm, swollen or painful

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Q.
What should I know about Rituxan's history?
A.

Rituxan was the only FDA-approved treatment for adults with GPA and MPA.

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Q.
When, where, and how is Rituxan given?
A.

Rituxan is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion once weekly for 4 weeks. An IV infusion is given to you through a needle that's placed in a vein.

  • First, your doctor's office will set up an appointment for you to receive your Rituxan therapy. Rituxan is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion. That means it is given to you through a needle that's placed in a vein
  • The first Rituxan infusion is given at a slower rate than following infusions in order to closely monitor for infusion reactions. If symptoms do occur, they are more likely to happen during the first infusion than during following infusions
  • Your first Rituxan infusion may take 3 to 5 hours. If you experience infusion reactions, the infusion is slowed or stopped to help manage them
  • Before each infusion, be sure to review the Rituxan Medication Guide and discuss it with your doctor

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Q.
How should I prepare for my infusions?
A.

A Rituxan infusion may last several hours, so you may want to bring along a book or some music to help pass the time. Also, it may be a good idea to bring along some food, in case you get hungry. Just check that the facility where you are receiving your infusion allows you to bring your own food.

Before every infusion, be sure to review the Medication Guide that accompanies the full Prescribing Information with your healthcare provider.

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Q.
Can I take other medicines on the days of my infusions?
A.

Your physician is your best source of information when it comes to your health. Talk with him or her to see if you may take other medicines on the day of your infusion.

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Q.
What should I know about side effects with Rituxan?
A.

Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

  • Infusion reactions: infusion reactions are the most common side effect of Rituxan treatment. Serious infusion reactions can happen during your infusion or within 24 hours after your infusion
  • Severe skin and mouth reactions: painful sores or ulcers on your skin, lips, or in your mouth, blisters, peeling skin, rash, pustules
  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation: if you have had hepatitis B or are a carrier of hepatitis B virus, receiving Rituxan could cause the virus to become an active infection again
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML): a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus

What are the possible side effects of Rituxan?

Rituxan can cause serious and life-threatening side effects, including:

  • Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS): TLS is caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells. TLS can cause you to have kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment or may cause an abnormal heart rhythm
  • Serious infections: serious infections can happen during and after treatment with Rituxan and can lead to death
  • Heart problems: Rituxan may cause chest pain and irregular heartbeat, which may need treatment, or your doctor may decide to stop your treatment with Rituxan
  • Kidney problems: especially if you are receiving Rituxan for NHL. Your doctor should do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working
  • Stomach and serious bowel problems that can sometimes lead to death: tell your doctor right away if you have any stomach area pain during treatment with Rituxan
  • Low blood cell counts: your doctor may do blood tests during treatment with Rituxan to check your blood cell counts

What are common side effects during treatment with Rituxan?

  • Infusion reactions
  • Chills
  • Infections
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Low white blood cell count

Other side effects include:

  • Aching joints during or within hours of receiving an infusion
  • More frequent upper respiratory tract infections

You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

Please see the Rituxan Medication Guide including most serious side effects for additional important side effect information

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Q.
Are there support resources to help me get Rituxan therapy?
A.

At Genentech, we develop medicines for serious or life-threatening medical conditions. We believe they should be accessible for the patients who need them. There are three important programs that can help you get the Rituxan treatment you need:

Who We Help What We Offer How To Get Started

Privately insured patients

Patients with self- or employer-paid health plans who are concerned about their co-pay

  • Excluding patients who have a federally funded health plan (eg, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, TRICARE)
  • Patients who receive free Rituxan from the Genentech Access to Care Foundation or other sources are not eligible

Genentech Rheumatology Co-pay Card Program*

From the time you enroll, this prepaid MasterCard® card can provide you with up to $10,000 in co-pay assistance over the next 12 months. You pay $5 per co-pay.

To enroll or for complete program terms and eligibility requirements:

Privately and publicly insured patients

Patients who are concerned about their co-pay and have the following types of health plans:

  • Self-paid
  • Employer-paid
  • Government-paid (including Medicare, Medicare Advantage, TRICARE)

Co-pay Assistance Foundations

Helps patients apply to foundations that give co-pay aid to patients with Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis and Microscopic Polyangiitis

Uninsured patients or those without coverage for Rituxan

Eligible patients who do not have a health plan or whose health plan does not pay for Rituxan

Genentech® Access to Care Foundation (GATCF)

Gives Rituxan free of charge to patients who meet specific financial, insurance and medical criteria

*
The Genentech Rheumatology Co-pay Card Program is not a benefit plan. This program helps with your co-pay for the Rituxan drug only. It does not pay for other costs related to your visit or infusion. Genentech and Biogen Idec reserve the right to change or end this program. This may be done in whole or in part, without notice, at any time.
The Rituxan Prepaid MasterCard is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to license by MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated. This card may not be used everywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted. No cash or ATM access. The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC.
We cannot guarantee you will get help from a co-pay foundation. The co-pay foundations each have their own rules, including financial rules. Genentech does not influence or control these co-pay foundations. But Genentech Rheumatology Access Solutions can help you. We can refer you to an appropriate co-pay foundation. We can also help with the application process.

The Access Solutions logo is a registered trademark of Genentech, Inc.

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Q.
Where can I learn more?
A.

Your doctor is the single most important source of information available to you. If you are looking to learn more about GPA and MPA, you can also visit the Vasculitis Foundation website at http://www.vasculitisfoundation.org. The Vasculitis Foundation is a good source of information for people with all types of AAV.

The Vasculitis Foundation is neither controlled by nor affiliated with Genentech. Genentech is neither affiliated with nor endorses the Vasculitis Foundation. The information provided by Genentech or the Vasculitis Foundation is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace your doctor's medical advice.

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Safety

Before you start exploring, take the time to read the side effect information.

Roll over to read more

What does Rituxan treat?

Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) (Wegener's Granulomatosis) and Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA): with glucocorticoids, to treat GPA and MPA.

People with serious infections should not receive Rituxan. It is not known if Rituxan is safe or effective in children.

Important Side Effect Information

What is the most important information I should know about Rituxan?

Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

  • Infusion reactions: infusion reactions are the most common side effect of Rituxan treatment. Serious infusion reactions can happen during your infusion or within 24 hours after your infusion of Rituxan. Your doctor should give you medicines before your infusion of Rituxan to decrease your chance of having a severe infusion reaction.
    Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you get any of these symptoms during or after an infusion of Rituxan:
    • Hives (red itchy welts) or rash
    • Itching
    • Swelling of your lips, tongue, throat or face
    • Sudden cough
    • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or wheezing
    • Weakness
    • Dizziness or feeling faint
    • Palpitations (feeling like your heart is racing or fluttering)
    • Chest pain
  • Severe skin and mouth reactions: tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you get any of these symptoms at any time during your treatment with Rituxan:
    • Painful sores or ulcers on your skin, lips, or in your mouth
    • Blisters
    • Peeling skin
    • Rash
    • Pustules
  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation: before Rituxan treatment, your doctor will do blood tests to check for HBV infection. If you have had hepatitis B or are a carrier of hepatitis B virus, receiving Rituxan could cause the virus to become an active infection again. Hepatitis B reactivation may cause serious liver problems, including liver failure and death. You should not receive Rituxan if you have active hepatitis B liver disease. Your doctor will monitor you for hepatitis B infection during and for several months after you stop receiving Rituxan
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML): PML is a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus. People with weakened immune systems can get PML. Your chance of getting PML may be higher if you are treated with Rituxan alone or with other medicines that weaken your immune system. PML can result in death or severe disability. There is no known treatment, prevention, or cure for PML Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms or if anyone close to you notices these symptoms:
    • Confusion or problems thinking
    • Loss of balance
    • Change in the way you walk or talk
    • Decreased strength or weakness on one side of your body
    • Blurred vision or loss of vision

What should I tell my doctor before receiving Rituxan?

Before receiving Rituxan, tell your doctor if you:

  • Have had a severe infusion reaction to Rituxan in the past
  • Have a history of heart problems, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, or lung or kidney problems
  • Have had an infection, currently have an infection, or have a weakened immune system
  • Have had a recent vaccination or are scheduled to receive vaccinations
  • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Talk to your doctor about effective birth control
  • Are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed
  • Are taking any medications, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements

What are the possible side effects of Rituxan?

Rituxan can cause serious and life-threatening side effects, including:

  • Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS): TLS is caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells. TLS can cause you to have:
    • Kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment
    • Abnormal heart rhythm
    Your doctor may do blood tests to check you for TLS. Your doctor may give you medicine to help prevent TLS.
  • Serious infections: serious infections can happen during and after treatment with Rituxan, and can lead to death. Rituxan can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. Types of serious infections that can happen with Rituxan include bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. After receiving Rituxan, some patients have developed low levels of certain antibodies in their blood for a long period of time (longer than 11 months). Some of these patients with low antibody levels developed infections. Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of infection:
    • Fever
    • Cold symptoms, such as runny nose or sore throat that do not go away
    • Flu symptoms, such as cough, tiredness, and body aches
    • Earache or headache
    • Pain during urination
    • White patches in the mouth or throat
    • Cuts, scrapes, or incisions that are red, warm, swollen, or painful
  • Heart problems: Rituxan may cause chest pain and irregular heartbeat, which may need treatment, or your doctor may decide to stop your treatment with Rituxan
  • Kidney problems: especially if you are receiving Rituxan for NHL. Your doctor should do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working
  • Stomach and serious bowel problems that can sometimes lead to death: bowel problems, including blockage or tears in the bowel can happen if you receive Rituxan with chemotherapy medicines to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Tell your doctor right away if you have any stomach area pain during treatment with Rituxan
  • Low blood cell counts: your doctor may do blood tests during treatment with Rituxan to check your blood cell counts
    • White blood cells: white blood cells fight against bacterial infections. Low white blood cells can cause you to get infections, which may be serious
    • Red blood cells: red blood cells carry oxygen to your body tissues and organs
    • Platelets: platelets are blood cells that help your blood to clot

What are common side effects during treatment with Rituxan?

  • Infusion reactions
  • Chills
  • Infections
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Low white blood cell count

Other side effects include:

  • Aching joints during or within hours of receiving an infusion
  • More frequent upper respiratory tract infections

How will I receive Rituxan?

  • Rituxan is given by infusion through a needle placed in a vein (intravenous infusion) in your arm. Talk to your doctor about how you will receive Rituxan
  • Your doctor may prescribe medicines before each infusion of Rituxan to reduce side effects of infusions such as fever and chills
  • Your doctor should do regular blood tests to check for side effects of Rituxan

Before each Rituxan treatment, your doctor or nurse will ask you questions about your general health. Tell your doctor or nurse about any new symptoms.

You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

Please see the Rituxan Medication Guide including most serious side effects for additional important side effect information.

Safety

close

What does Rituxan treat?

Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) (Wegener's Granulomatosis) and Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA): with glucocorticoids, to treat GPA and MPA.

People with serious infections should not receive Rituxan. It is not known if Rituxan is safe or effective in children.

Important Side Effect Information

What is the most important information I should know about Rituxan?

Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

What should I tell my doctor before receiving Rituxan?

Before receiving Rituxan, tell your doctor if you:

What are the possible side effects of Rituxan?

Rituxan can cause serious and life-threatening side effects, including:

What are common side effects during treatment with Rituxan?

Other side effects include:

How will I receive Rituxan?

Before each Rituxan treatment, your doctor or nurse will ask you questions about your general health. Tell your doctor or nurse about any new symptoms.

You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

Please see the Rituxan Medication Guide including most serious side effects for additional important side effect information.