What are the Effects of Rituxan on Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Jessica F. Black

The use of rituxan on rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation, in some patients can significantly improve the discomforts associated with this disease. In addition to other medications, using this medication can improve symptoms in as little as two weeks and for as long as six months after treatment. Treatment usually involve two infusions, a few weeks apart, which administer a gradual flow of medicine directly into the veins over several hours. The flow rate is gradual to ensure that the patient does not have a negative reaction to the medication.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic inflammation of the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic inflammation of the joints.

Using rituxan on rheumatoid arthritis provides positive effects by working on B-cells, which are directly involved with the malfunctioning antibodies that attack joints and cause the disease. This drug was exclusively used on cancer patients until several studies showed using rituxan on rheumatoid arthritis enhanced improvement of patients' symptoms. Some of the symptoms decreased immensely, including inflammation, joint aches, and muscle pain. Patients also noticed an increase in mobility in the affected area.

Rituxan can improve symptoms in as little as two weeks.
Rituxan can improve symptoms in as little as two weeks.

Most patients are prescribed methotrexate and methylprednisolone in addition to receiving rituxan treatments, which may increase its effects. To get the best results when using rituxan on rheumatoid arthritis, another treatment is given every five to six months after the initial treatment, but may be administered earlier if the patient begins experiencing extreme pain. A physician may give the patient additional medications prior to the intravenous infusion to prevent some negative reactions. To assist the physician, a patient should inform him or her of any medications currently being taken or taken within the past several weeks.

Some of the most common symptoms associated with the infusion are fever, swelling of the mouth and face, increased heart rate, dizziness, and weakness. During the treatment, the patient is usually monitored by a medical professional to ensure that the session runs smoothly and that side effects do not occur. Patients who suffer from side effects usually do so during the first treatment and if no side effects are present, it is usually concluded that the patient and medication are compatible.

There may be other complications associated with the treatment including a lowered blood cell count, a skin reaction to the injection, or an increased risk of infection. A medical professional will usually provide reading material before treatment that informs the patient of benefits, risks, and procedures. In order to receive highly effective treatment, the patient should ask his or her doctor about additional medications that increase the success rate of rituxan on rheumatoid arthritis.

Rituxan can help reduce the swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Rituxan can help reduce the swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

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