What Is Rituximab Used For?

Using Rituximab for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in white blood cells (lymphocytes). There are several different types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Because of the way rituximab works, it is approved for treating CD20-positive B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. This type of lymphoma affects the B type of lymphocytes (as opposed to the T type), and the cancerous B cells have surface antigens known as CD20 antigens.
Rituximab may be used alone or in combination with other treatments, depending on the type and stage of lymphoma, as well as whether or not other treatments have been tried.
Using Rituximab for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). Also known as chronic lymphoblastic leukemia, this is the second most common type of leukemia seen in adults.
With chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the lymphocytes are not able to fight infection very well, and as the amount of lymphocytes increases in the blood and bone marrow, there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may result in an infection, anemia, and easy bleeding.
Rituximab is approved to treat CD20-positive CLL (in which the lymphocytes are the type that have CD20 antigens on their surfaces). When used to treat CLL, rituximab is approved for use in combination with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®) and fludarabine (Fludara®, Oforta®).
Using Rituximab for Wegener's Granulomatosis and Microscopic Polyangiitis
Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) are two similar but distinctly different diseases in which the blood vessels are inflamed (a condition called vasculitis). This inflammation damages important organs of the body by limiting blood flow to those organs and destroying normal tissue. Although WG and MPA can involve any organ system, they mainly affect the respiratory tract (sinuses, nose, trachea or windpipe, and lungs) and kidneys.
Rituximab is approved for the treatment of WG or MPA in adults when used in combination with glucocorticoids (such as prednisone or methylprednisolone).
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