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Side Effects of Rituxan

Washington, DC: “It has been around 6 years since the FDA, which is also known as the US Food and Drug Administration, issued one quite serious warning about the existing risks connected with the usage of a medication called Rituxan, and its possible side effects.”

At that time, the FDA informed that these possible side effects of the usage of Rituxan might include the increased risk of having one unwanted and dangerous medical condition that is called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (or PML). It is true that this type of medication is still available in the modern market, but patients who are prescribed to take it on a regular basis must be quite carefully and be aware of possible signs that may alert them that they are having some adverse reactions.

December 18, 2012: the FDA represented its famous Public Health Advisory related to the usage of Rituxan. It warns people about the existing risks of having PML and it advises them to be careful. That’s because there are reports about 2 death events in patients who utilized this medication in order to treat their systemic lupus erythematosus (or SLE), but they developed PML. At that time Rituxan was approved for individuals who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, if all the other treatments couldn’t help them. It is interesting that this medication was not approved in order to treat SLE, but off-label usage is not considered to be illegal.

The FDA: “Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy is a very serious and even life-threatening ailment (a brain infection), and there are no effective treatments to cure it. It can be caused when the so-called JC virus that can be found in many adults is re-activated. There are many symptoms that can inform patients about having this disease. These ones include dizziness, confusion, difficulty walking, loss of balance, different vision problems.”

In February 2012, the warning label attached to Rituxan was updated, so now it includes the necessary information about potential risks involved, including the development of PML. In addition, there is one interesting study that was published in the famous journal Blood, and it was represented as a part of the 49th annual meeting of the so-called American Society of Hematology. This study concerns a potential link between the usage of Rituxan and the development of PML. There are many researches that are related to this issue as well. The FDA recommends to check at least some of them.


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