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Why is this medication prescribed?

Rituximab is an intravenous drug that is used to treat B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. Other monoclonal antibodies include trastuzumab (Herceptin) and gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg).

Tumor cells (like most normal cells) have receptors on their surfaces. Molecules on the outside of the cell can attach to these receptors. When they do, they can cause changes to occur within the cells. One receptor, present in more than 90% of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, is called CD20. Molecules that attach to CD20 can affect the growth and development of the tumor cells and, sometimes, the production of new tumor cells. Rituximab is thought to attach to the CD20 receptor and cause the tumor cells to disintegrate (lyse). In some non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, it also prevents the production of more tumor cells.

Rituximab is a man-made antibody that was developed using cloning and recombinant DNA technology from human and murine (mice or rat) genes.

 

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In case of an emergency/overdose

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