What to Expect With Rituxan

How Rituxan is given as an induction treatment

Rituxan® (rituximab) is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion once weekly for 4 weeks to induce remission if you have active GPA or MPA.

An IV infusion is given to you through a needle that's placed in a vein. Here are some things you should know about IV infusions:

  • Infusions are used to treat many conditions and are given by trained professionals in doctors offices, infusion centers, or hospitals
  • If you have an infusion-related reaction, the infusion is slowed or stopped to help manage it
  • Rituxan infusions can result in some serious, sometimes life-threatening, side effects
  • Most common infusion-related reactions with Rituxan may include fever, chills and shakes, itching, and coughing. If you experience any type of reaction, be sure to talk with your doctor
  • Before each infusion, be sure to review the Rituxan Medication Guide and discuss it with your doctor
  • Rituxan can lower certain blood cell counts. Your doctor may do blood tests during treatment with Rituxan to check your blood cell counts. Be sure to schedule any visits that require lab tests

The following information may help you prepare:

  • Your doctor may give you certain medicines before infusions to help reduce side effects. These may include acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and diphenhydramine HCI (Benadryl®)
  • Due to the possibility of infusion-related reactions the first infusion may take most of the day, but later infusions may take less time. Be sure to schedule enough time for the infusion, and take activities such as crossword puzzles or a book to help you pass the time
  • Take an extra sweater to help you stay warm in case the room is chilly

How Rituxan is given as a follow-up treatment to control flares

The dosing for Rituxan is slightly different if your GPA or MPA is already under control. Your doctor may start by giving 2 IV infusions, 2 weeks apart. After that, you will receive a single IV infusion every 6 months or based on your doctor's evaluation of your symptoms.

Some tips for your Rituxan infusions

Here are some helpful tips for your Rituxan infusion:

  • Remember to set aside enough time—your first infusion may take 3 to 5 hours. Following infusions may take slightly less time than your first. But they will still last several hours, so make sure you set aside enough time in your day
  • Be mindful of how you feel—even if you didn't experience side effects from previous infusions, you should still be mindful of how you feel. If you do experience any side effects, be sure to report them to your doctor right away
  • Take someone with you—you may find it nice to have this time to yourself and a loved one, so take someone along and pass the time catching up
  • Take activities—you may want to take activities such as crossword puzzles or a book to help you pass the time
  • Eating and drinking—there are no special rules about what you should eat or drink before an infusion. However, you may be at the infusion facility for the better part of the day. So consider taking some snacks or packing a meal
  • Additional medications—as always, remember to let your doctor or nurse know about any medications or supplements you're taking

Review the Medication Guide—before each infusion, remember to review the Medication Guide and ask your doctor any questions you may have.