There are many Disease Modifying Drugs for multiple sclerosis and it seems we hear of new ones coming out often. When I was first diagnosed with MS in 2006, the only option was shots and I took Copaxone and gave myself a daily injection for 8 years.
All of a sudden, there were more options such as pills and infusions. Recently, my neurologist suggested I stop taking Gileyna which I have been on for the past year and a half and go on something stronger which is an infusion of Rituxan. My MRIs were coming out the same as 2012 but my disability level has progressed. I use a walker; have a drop foot, weakness, and spasticity that have progressed quickly in the last year.
Rituxan is an infusion that MS patients can get every six months. Some patients get two doses at the beginning in the first two weeks and others just get the one dose.
According to multiplesclerosis.net “Rituxan is a chimeric monoclonal antibody that targets the protein CD20 on the surface of B cells and causes select mature B cells to self destruct.”
Rituxan is a prescription medicine used mainly for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is not FDA approved for multiple sclerosis, but neurologist have had success with giving it to MS patients.
As with any medicines, there are side effects such as hives, itching, skin and mouth reactions and weakness. There can also be serious side effects such as Hepatitis B virus reactivation and Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). Blood tests and pneumonia shots are required before taking the medicine.
Rituxan is given by an infusion through a needle placed in a vein in your arm. To reduce side effects they also gave me Benadryl and Solu-Medrol before the Rituxan. It was a six hour infusion and luckily I had no side effects except feeling very sleepy for a few days. So far I have felt strong and hoping this medicine works.
What medicine are you on? Would you try Rituxan? Has your neurologist talked to you about it?