Rituxan Infusions for Arthritis and Lymphoma
Rituxan is a type of antibody therapy used to treat certain types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and some autoimmune diseases. A healthcare professional can administer Rituxan infusions in a doctor’s office or certified infusion center.
The drug works with your immune system to attack B-cells, a type of white blood cell associated with cancer and autoimmune disease. Clinical trials have shown positive results in patient outcomes. Rituxan infusions can relieve symptoms, increase energy levels and slow joint damage.
What conditions does Rituxan treat?
Rituxan was developed as a drug to fight certain cancers affecting the immune system and white blood cells. Personalized Hematology-Oncology & Primary Care administers Rituxan infusions in Raleigh/Wake Forest to treat the following conditions:
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system occurring in a specific type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. In a healthy person, lymph nodes use these cells to help fight infection. When someone has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the cells are abnormal and can build up in the lymph nodes, blood and bone marrow. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever and pain in the stomach or chest.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that develops in a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. It is the most common form of leukemia in adults. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia grows slowly, so many people do not realize they have it. The abnormal blood cells often look normal but do not fight infection and can build up in the bone marrow.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that makes the immune system attack healthy tissues, causing inflammation and joint pain. It often begins in the smaller joints of the hands and feet but can progress to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In severe cases, it can damage other parts of the body, including organs. Rituxan infusions have worked for patients who have not had success with other rheumatoid arthritis treatments.
What can I expect from Rituxan infusions?
Rituxan is administered at a doctor’s office or certified infusion center. For it to be effective, it must be given directly into the bloodstream. A healthcare professional will use a needle to administer the drug intravenously. Your first Rituxan infusion may take 4 to 6 hours, but your second treatment cycle will likely be shorter.
Rituxan infusions begin working after the first dose, but it may take several weeks up to a few months to feel the effects. The amount of time varies from person to person. Your doctor will monitor your progress.
There are no food or liquid restrictions before, during or after your infusion. Since it will take several hours, check with your doctor if you want to bring a snack or water.
Your doctor may give you medications like acetaminophen to reduce the chance of side effects. Be aware of how you feel during the infusion and inform your doctor of any unusual discomfort. After the procedure, follow your doctor’s instructions for the next step in your infusion treatment plan.
Are you a candidate for Rituxan?
Make sure your doctor has your full medical history to see if you are a candidate for Rituxan infusions. Your doctor will also ask about any medications or supplements you take to ensure they will not interact with Rituxan.
In addition, tell your doctor if you currently have or have had any of these experiences:
- Allergic reaction to previous Rituxan infusion
- Heart problems
- Lung or kidney issues
- An infection or weakened immune system
- Severe infections such as hepatitis B or C, herpes simplex virus, shingles or West Nile virus
- Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding
Before your procedure, your doctor will check for the hepatitis B virus. If you have had the virus or are a carrier, the treatment can cause the virus to become active again.
What are the side effects?
The most common side effects of Rituxan infusions are reactions at the injection site, infections, body aches, headache, fatigue and nausea. These symptoms usually appear within 24 hours of your treatment. Your physician may give you medication to decrease your chance of developing symptoms. You may also be susceptible to more frequent upper respiratory tract infections like a runny nose or throat irritation.
If you experience any of the following during or after a Rituxan treatment, report side effects to your doctor immediately, as you may have an allergic reaction:
- Rash or hives
- Swelling of your lips, throat or face
- Sudden cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or heart palpitations
- Skin or mouth sores or blisters
Rituxan infusions in Raleigh at a certified infusion center
Our certified infusion center in Raleigh is changing the face of healthcare for patients with cancer and chronic conditions. We focus on personalized treatment for cancers, blood conditions and other medical conditions. Our practice offers efficient quality care with innovative therapy services like arthritis infusions and lymphoma infusions to reduce the symptoms of these and other chronic conditions.