Drug Class: Biologics (B-cell inhibitor)
  Brand Names:  Rituxan



Two 1000 mg IV infusions given 2 weeks apart every 24 weeks or based on physical exam, but no sooner than every 16 weeks.
Dosages for children: The dosages listed above are those typically prescribed for adults aged 18-65. Dosages for children can vary.

Potential Side Effects


Abdominal pain; bruising, itching, pain, redness or swelling at the injection site; chills; fever; headache; infections; infusion reaction during or shortly after treatment (including blood pressure changes, chest pain, difficulty breathing and hives); severe skin reactions; swelling and shedding of the mucus membranes.

Special Instructions

Women of childbearing age should use effective contraception during treatment.

Be Aware

All biologics suppress the immune system and may increase your risk of infections. Tell your doctor if you have an active infection. Do not start treatment if you have a serious or recurrent infection (such as pneumonia). You should be tested for tuberculosis before starting this medication. Do not get a live vaccine when taking biologics.

If you have ever had hepatitis B, rituximab can cause the virus to reactivate. Before starting therapy, your doctor should test you for hepatitis B. Serious infusion reactions have been linked to rituximab. Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid before the infusion to prevent an infusion reaction. Some patients taking rituximab have developed a rare, life-threatening disease called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Tell your doctor if you have sudden weakness in your arms or leg and loss of memory and speech. Rituximab may cause tumor lysis syndrome. Tumor lysis syndrome is caused by the rapid destruction of tumor cells, which causes a change in certain chemicals in the blood. This can lead to organ damage. The complication is generally associated with the treatment of certain tumors, and is unusual in the treatment of rheumatic diseases.

LAST UPDATED: 03/28/2014

The Arthritis Today Drug Guide is meant for education – not self-medicating. Arthritis Today, the Arthritis Foundation and the Drug Guide Medical Review Panel do not endorse any products mentioned in this guide. While we endeavor to keep the information up to date, we make no representations or warranties about the completeness of the information provided.