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What is rituximab and why is it prescribed?

Rituximab is a type of biological therapy. It removes B-cells and helps to reduce the inflammation that causes joint pain and swelling. Read more >

How do I take rituximab and how long does it take to work?

Rituximab is usually given as two infusions, two weeks apart. If you respond to it, you’ll probably feel better within 2–16 weeks.

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What are the possible risks and side-effects of rituximab?

A small number of people experience fever, wheeziness, a rash or fall in blood pressure during or shortly after the infusion.

It can also make you more likely to develop infections.

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Can rituximab affect other medicines and treatments?

Rituximab may be prescribed alongside other drugs such as methotrexate. However, some drugs may interact with rituximab, so check with your doctor before starting any new medications.

Live vaccines aren't recommended if you're on rituximab, but if necessary may be scheduled between courses of rituximab.

If you're going to have an operation this will usually be scheduled at least a month after your last rituximab infusion.

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Can I drink alcohol while I'm on rituximab?

You can drink alcohol while on rituximab but you should keep within the recommended limits if you’re also taking methotrexate.

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Does rituximab affect fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Current guidelines advise avoiding rituximab if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. However, it's unlikely to be harmful if taken in the early stages of pregnancy.

Rituximab can pass into breast milk, and we don't yet know how this might affect the baby.

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