skip to main content
NZ Formulary

Printable Printable large type (2 pages) A4 Size PDF A5 Size PDF

Rituximab (for transplant patients)

ri-tux-ih-mab

What does it do?

Rituximab is used to prevent transplant rejection.

How is it given?

Rituximab is given as an infusion into a vein.

Rituximab can cause a reaction while it is being infused. This usually happens within 30 minutes to 2 hours after starting the first infusion. You may have trouble breathing, or experience fever, chills, flushing, skin rash, itching, dizziness or headache. Tell your health professional immediately if any of these symptoms occur. This reaction is usually mild and can be controlled by giving rituximab more slowly. You will also be given medicines shortly before the infusion to help control this reaction. Once the symptoms have gone away the speed of the infusion can usually be increased again.

Can you take other medicines?

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Swollen lips, tongue, throat or face

Chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat

Increased risk of infection - symptoms may include: fever, chills, sore throat, aches and pains, tiredness, pain when peeing, mouth ulcers

Easy/unusual bruising or bleeding

Tell your doctor immediately

Loss of co-ordination, muscle weakness, forgetfulness, or vision changes

Tingling or numbness, joint, muscle or bone aches and pains

Tell your doctor

Swollen feet or legs

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart, blood pressure or lung problems.
  • Tell your doctor if you have a long-term infection e.g. tuberculosis, HIV or hepatitis B or C.
  • Reliable contraception should be used while being treated with rituximab, and for up to 12 months after stopping. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • You have an increased risk of getting an infection while taking rituximab. Discuss with your doctor.
  • Rituximab affects your immune system. Before you start and while you are using it, check with your doctor what vaccines you might need. You should not have a live vaccine while using it.
  • It is important to tell anyone who gives you medical or dental treatment that you are taking rituximab.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. September 2018

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

Web links for this sheet in different formats

Click on buttons to copy web addresses for this leaflet:

If your browser does not automatically copy these links use its copy command instead.

About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed