Drug Interactions

Rituximab can potentially interact with a few other medications (see Drug Interactions With Rituximab).

Overdose Information

It is unclear what exactly to expect from an overdose with this medication. However, administering rituximab too quickly can cause infusion reactions.
(Click Rituxan Overdose for more information.)

What Should I Do If I Miss a Dose of Rituximab?

If you miss a dose of rituximab, contact your healthcare provider to set up an appointment for your dose as soon as possible.

How Does It Work?

Rituximab is an antibody that binds to a specific antigen (known as CD20 antigen) on the surface of B cells. B cells are a type of lymphocyte (white blood cell) that plays a role in the immune system and inflammation. By binding to the CD20 antigen, rituximab signals the body to destroy the B cells (including cancerous B cells, if the medication is being used to treat cancer).
Interestingly, rituximab is made by fusing part of a mouse antibody with part of a human antibody and is grown in the ovary cells of Chinese hamsters.

When and How to Take Rituximab

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with rituximab include the following:
  • This medication comes in injectable form. Your healthcare provider will administer it intravenously via an IV infusion (also known as an "IV drip") that will last for several hours. He or she will start the infusion slowly to help avoid reactions to the medication and slowly increase the infusion rate as tolerated.
  • The time between doses will vary, depending on the particular dosing regimen.
  • You should be given medications before each dose of rituximab to reduce the risk of infusion reactions. Usually, this will consist of acetaminophen (Tylenol®), an antihistamine, and sometimes a steroid.
  • Infusion reactions can sometimes be serious and may cause various side effects, such as:
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Itching
    • Low blood pressure
    • Low oxygen levels
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Heart problems.
If anything seems abnormal during your infusion, let your healthcare provider know right away in case it is an infusion reaction.
  • For rituximab to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Missing doses will decrease the medication's effectiveness.
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Rituximab Drug Information

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