On November 19th, I went to the local hospital outpatient infusion clinic to receive the first dose of Rituxan® (rituximab). This Thursday I go back for the second dose which will complete one round of treatment. Rituxan in combination with methotrexate is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response to one or more TNF antagonist therapies (such as Humira, Enbrel, or Remicade).
Those of us living with multiple sclerosis CANNOT use one of the anti-TNF disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) which are commonly used in the treatment of RA or other rheumatic diseases. This is because the anti-TNF drugs are known to increase disease activity in patients who have a demyelinating disease such as MS. Although I am officially using Rituxan as a treatment for RA, it is the hope of my rheumatologist, neurologist, and myself that Rituxan may be effective in slowing down my experience with MS relapses.
But leave it to me to have "issues" during the infusion. Those issues required medical intervention and a change of infusion rate. Fingers crossed that this Thursday goes more smoothly, especially since my rheumatologist is ordering extra amounts of steroids and stuff ahead of time.
Read this post and my story in its entirety:
Rituximab Infusion: My First Experience (on MultipleSclerosisCentral.com)
Rituximab Infusion for RA: My First Experience (on MyRACentral.com)