What is Rituxan?

An update on my second Rituxan™ infusion: my only side effect, mild flushing was gone in less than a day. Remember, doses for immunotherapy are lower than cancer chemotherapy, so, reactions most likely differ.

After the IV Benadryl™ and steroid I was given (to prevent most reactions) I slept. I slept during the whole infusion, except for lunch when I emerged from my warm blanket and slumber-when a sandwich and beverage was delivered. I was chomping away one minute and the next minute, I was the awakened by my nurse, “Your teeth have fallen out (I wear a partial plate) and your sandwich is smushed into your chest!”

More important, why Rituxan™, and why does it work? There are two types of cells in the humoral immune system; B cells and T cells. It is the  job of the B cells is to fight infection which it does by producing antibodies.When the B cells are suppressed, antibody production is decreased and disease activity is decreased. So suppress away, right? We don’t want disease activity!

Not so fast! When you suppress the B cells, you also suppress the body’s ability to fight infection, so infection is a common side effect of Rituxan™. So the risk of infection is a common risk that needs to be weighed. However, this risk can be minimized with good hand-washing, not exposing oneself to people who are ill, wearing a mask in large public places or and asking others to be respectful of your infectious needs.

 

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