Okay, let’s take a closer look at this Rituxan (Rituximab) infusion I will be receiving in the near future. Genentech makes this particular biologic although it is jointly marketed by Genentech and Biogen. I initially used Enbrel and then Remicade, but my rheumatologist was unhappy with the results and is switching me to Rituxan as my third biologic.
Rituxan® (rituximab) is a chemo drug that is also used as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment. It is used in adults with moderate to severe RA, and it is given along with methotrexate after another type of treatment, called an anti-TNF, hasn't worked well enough. I will be taking it with methotrexate, just as I did with the other biologics in the past.
I am still recovering from the pleurisy brought on in part (we think) by the Remicade. That will take a few more weeks. I deliberately scheduled my first two Rituxan infusions beginning 4 weeks from now to make sure this very slow healing process is complete. Otherwise, it seems like a risk to mess with my immune system and have the pleurisy return with a vengeance.
Like all meds, Rituxan has some side effects. Some of the side effects can occur during the infusion itself. The side effects range from minor to quite serious. At this point in my RA treatment, I think I am ready to try a new approach. As I wait out the last of the Remicade in my system, I am becoming aware of just how bad my RA actually is. Life in a permanent flare is not much fun and I would like to be able to be active once again. It is easy to forget how bad you feel when a biologic is working some or all of the time to help you feel much better.
Looks like most folks get their Rituxan infusions every 6 months or so. According to the website, Rituxan has been shown to provide up to 6 months of symptom improvement from 1 course of treatment (2 infusions, given 2 weeks apart). Sounds like a long day for this first infusion, stay tuned and I will let you know how it goes as we get towards the end of July.
If anyone is currently taking Rituxan or has done so in the past, I would welcome your comments and thoughts about this medication. Many thanks!
Here’s hoping for another good day!