Most people never heard of Rituxan (Rituximab), let alone its side effects. Rituxan is a prescribed medication that works in coalition with chemotherapy. These two together are used to find and attack B-cells, the cells where non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma begins. Rituxan itself is not chemotherapy but works well with chemotherapy to fight the certain type of cancer. It sounds like a dream come true right? Combine this drug with another drug and you’re cured? Patients with cancer may think so. But, what most people don’t know, is that the side effects of Rituxan and be just as dangerous and deadly as the cancer itself.
All drugs have side effects, it’s the nature of the beast. There is not one drug that isn’t linked to one possible outcome. However, not many drugs have side effects that can be just as fatal as the disease one is trying to fight against. Rituxan, however, does in fact have those types of side effects. Some of the side effects that Rituxan is known for are breathing problems such as hypoxia and acute respiratory distress syndrome as heart problems such as a heart attack and irregular heartbeat.
In addition, some people have serious skin reactions to the medication and end developing rashes, blisters, peeling skin, and sometimes sores. Further, Rituxan can cause a brain infection such as Progressive MultifolcalLeukoencephalopathy. But that’s not all. Rituxan can also cause kidney failure because it kills large numbers of cancer cells and the kidneys cannot dispel the cells as quickly as they die. These side effects are written as a warning to patients taking this medication.
There are other side effects of the drug which are less deadly and more common. These side effects are things such as headache, fever, chills, pain in the muscles back or joints, as well as swelling and tingling of the hands and/or feet.
Not everyone can be prescribed Rituxan. People who have Hepatitus C or B as well as people with Abnormal Heart Rhythm and disease of the white matter in the brain cannot take the medication. In addition, people who have high potassium in the blood and low calcium in the blood, as well as people who are anemic cannot be prescribed this medication.
As stated before, all drugs have side effects, you’ll never be able to get away from that. However, is the drug itself worth it if the side effects are as fatal and horrendous as the disease they are fighting against?