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Rituxan® Can Lead to Serious Skin Reactions, Health Canada Warns

Filed February 26th, 2013 admin

Health Canada is alerting the public that use of the Hoffmann-La Roche Limited cancer treatment drug, Rituxan® (rituximab) can lead to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

Health Canada has been made aware of severe skin reactions, including Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome occurring in patients who were given Rituxan® for the treatment of cancer or disorders of the immune system. Symptoms of severe skin reactions include flu-like symptoms; fever; itching of the skin; painful, red or purplish skin rash that spreads and blisters causing the top of the skin to shed; mouth sores; eye burning; itching; and discharge. These reactions may occur on the day of infusion, within a few days, a week later, or up to four months following the infusion.

Rituxan® is given by intravenous infusion to treat cancer of the lymph cells and bone marrow. The drug can also be used to reduce the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and to limit inflammation associated with severe Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis and Microscopic Polyangiitis, Health Canada said.

Health Canada is recommending that anyone who develops any of these symptoms contact a doctor or healthcare professional immediately. If a severe skin reaction occurs, Rituxan® administration needs to be stopped immediately. Hoffmann-La Roche recently sent a letter to healthcare professionals informing them of this important safety information.

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