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Dangers of Rituxan

Rituxan Side Effects

A group of researchers reviewed adverse event reports from 1997 to 2008 and found 57 patients who developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare disease of the central nervous system with a 90% fatality rate, following treatment with rituximab (Rituxan) and other agents. PML results from reactivation of latent JC polyoma virus (JCV). One patient with PML was diagnosed with ITP. The other patients had been treated for rheumatoid arthritis (1), pancytopenia (1), lymphoproliferative disorders (52), and lupus (2). Patients with PML presented with confusion/disorientation, motor weakness, dizziness, difficulty walking or speaking, or vision problems. Most cases were identified with MRI and JC virus detection in cerebrospinal fluid.1


[1]Carson, K et al, "Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy after rituximab therapy in HIV-negative patients: a report of 57 cases from the Research on Adverse Drug Events and Reports project." Blood. 2009 May 14;113 (20):4834-40

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