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Regimen Information

For Rituxan, including Side Effects

Rituxan

Drugs in this Regimen:

For the treatment of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

How Rituxan chemotherapy is given and possible side effects.

Rituxan for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Rituxan (rituximab) is a drug used in the treatment of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma.

MOST COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF RITUXAN

  • Risk of Infection

  • Diarrhea

  • Anemia

  • Nausea & Vomiting

For more information, see the 'Expert Resources' tab below.

Community Responses

Often, the most helpful information regarding treatment side effects comes not from clinical brochures, but rather from other patients like you. We've collected the most helpful community resources to help you prepare for the side effects and coping tips for your chemotherapy regimen.

What side effects did you experience while on this medication?

The following have been voted the 3 most helpful responses to this question.

Hi, I'm Rita J H.

This is a postscript to my Sept 17 response re itching, hip pain, deafness. I’ve had chronic loose stools and ‘leaky’ valve which I attributed to surgery before the lymphoma…also had mrsa….hard to know what’s what.

  • Sat Sep 17, 2016
Hi, I'm Rita J H.

Having had no aftereffects from the first set of 4 Rituxin infusions in 2003, I assumed all would go well in 2008. I drove home ok after the first infusion but started having chills that shook coffee out of my cup.; the ensuing MD call did not result in a prescription med even..things settled quickly…no more problem with that set of infusions. My last run in 2014 went nicely. With all 3, my hemoglobin and weight went up, the IgM way down. I’ve been very,very fortunate…some fatigue and itching, hip pain that may/may not be connected, and increasingly severe deafness that h-aids no longer manage…just recently saw that seeing and hearing may be affected by Waldenstrom’s and /or treatment. Blessings to all who endure ….

  • Sat Sep 17, 2016
I'm John Penna, and I'm a survivor of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

I have a retoxin 5 hr IV once every 3 weeks( with a Benadryl drip first) followed by 5 days of 300 mg cytoxin each day. I will be having a 4th treatment in 2 weeks. The retoxin is long but I have had no side effects. The cytoxin is physically draining by the 5th day. My IgM (presently at 2246 has dropping 5% with each treatment). I hope it continues.
I lost 50 lbs from a previous treatment of velcade and retoxin. It gave me peripheral neuropathy which I am still trying to over come. Lyrica has helped with the pain.

  • Mon Feb 15, 2016
I'm TOBYTREAS, and I'm a survivor of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

THE EFFECTS WERE CUMULATIVE AFTER 4TH TREATMENT, BEGAN TO BE EXTREMELY FATIGUED AND HAD ACHING JOINTS – AND, THEY STILL HURT – EVEN THOUGH MY LAST CHEMO WAS IN JANUARY 2013. STILL GET TIRED, BUT ABLE TO WORK AND VOLUNTEER. PLUS I’M GOING TO BE 76 IN TWO WEEKS. I FEAR MY NEXT APPT – THE FIRST IN 3 MOS. BECAUSE I DON’T WANT BAD NEWS. MY HUSBAND DIED ON 7/28.

  • Sat Oct 5, 2013
I'm Ken R, and I'm a survivor of Lymphoma

I had a very hard time taking Rituxan via needle in vein. But now I have a port and I have no side affects. I am on a maintence program because me cancer in remission. I have Rituxan weekly for (4) weeks and then 3 months off.

  • Mon Nov 11, 2013
Hi, I'm Wilma J M.

I experienced a bright red rash from the first dose of rituxan. The second treatment I took dexamethasone and did not have any rash, but had stomach pain, insomnia, and headache from the dexamethasone. I have the third dose next week. I am not taking the dexamethasone this time so we will see.

  • Tue Mar 4, 2014
Hi, I'm Jim C.

I have only had one treatment and didn’t know what to expect. I was hopeful for light side effects since my stomach has always been pretty good about reacting to meds. I had a 7 hr. treatment followed by a 2 hr. treatment the second say. That night I took a nausea pill although it wasn’t so much nausea as just a dull ache. I felt ‘wired’ for a couple of nights and didn’t sleep well but that wore off by the 4th day after treatment. I also suffered a headache from the nausea medicine so I quit taking them…willing to risk the nausea rather than get a headache.

  • Tue Apr 29, 2014
Hi, I'm Kathy L M.

The second half of 2008, I took rituxan every month for six months with fludara (sp?) and cytocin so I was in treatment 3 days each month. The first day I had unbelievable chills. I read where that was possible. I didn’t get chills after the first treatment. The next month I started itching under my bra, then down my sides and my face felt tight. I saw red welt starting to form on my arms. I went to the center’s restroom and saw the hives spreading across my face to my waist. After that I always had a Benadryl drip before my rituxan treatment. I didn’t have any more problems until the next to last treatment when my blood pressure dropped. The staff was on it. They were great. It didn’t happen again.

  • Wed Jun 10, 2015

I had itching when I began my first treatment and was given a,
benadryl drip I get the benadryl drip before each treatment,
I am doing good.

  • Tue Feb 2, 2016
I'm John Penna, and I'm a survivor of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

I have a retoxin 5 hr IV once every 3 weeks( with a Benadryl drip first) followed by 5 days of 300 mg cytoxin each day. I will be having a 4th treatment in 2 weeks. The retoxin is long but I have had no side effects. The cytoxin is physically draining by the 5th day. My IgM (presently at 2246 has dropping 5% with each treatment). I hope it continues.
I lost 50 lbs from a previous treatment of velcade and retoxin. It gave me peripheral neuropathy which I am still trying to over come. Lyrica has helped with the pain.

  • Mon Feb 15, 2016
Hi, I'm Rita J H.

Having had no aftereffects from the first set of 4 Rituxin infusions in 2003, I assumed all would go well in 2008. I drove home ok after the first infusion but started having chills that shook coffee out of my cup.; the ensuing MD call did not result in a prescription med even..things settled quickly…no more problem with that set of infusions. My last run in 2014 went nicely. With all 3, my hemoglobin and weight went up, the IgM way down. I’ve been very,very fortunate…some fatigue and itching, hip pain that may/may not be connected, and increasingly severe deafness that h-aids no longer manage…just recently saw that seeing and hearing may be affected by Waldenstrom’s and /or treatment. Blessings to all who endure ….

  • Sat Sep 17, 2016
Hi, I'm Rita J H.

This is a postscript to my Sept 17 response re itching, hip pain, deafness. I’ve had chronic loose stools and ‘leaky’ valve which I attributed to surgery before the lymphoma…also had mrsa….hard to know what’s what.

  • Sat Sep 17, 2016

This discussion needs your voice!

What were the specific side effects that you experienced while taking this medication? How did you manage them?

What coping tips would you give to new patients on this regimen?

Hi, I'm Jim C.

Go ahead and take the nausea pills the doctor prescribes starting the day after treatment but if you have a ‘strong’ stomach, quit the pills after 3 or 4 to avoid a pretty bad headache which is a side-effect listed on the nausea pill bottle.

  • Tue Apr 29, 2014

This discussion needs your voice!

What do you wish you had known before taking this medication? What information would you like to pass on to patients who are beginning this medication?

Treatment Overview

This chemotherapy regimen is commonly used to treat:

Other chemotherapy regimens for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma:

See Expert Resources

The Navigating Cancer Library includes articles about cancer, chemotherapy regimens and drugs from the the National Cancer Institute and other experts.

Specific Facts for Your Diagnosis

Learn about treatment options and managing side effects from experts.

Get Support on Your Cancer Journey

Connect with thousands of members with your diagnosis and learn from their experiences.

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