Medicine & USMLE


Anti-Neoplastic Drugs
  1. Cyclophosphamide
  2. Methotrexate
  3. Tamoxifen
  4. Cisplatin
  5. Doxorubicin
  6. Imatinib
  7. Paclitaxel
  8. Rituximab
  9. Trastuzumab
  10. Vincristine


Rituximab is a medication that targets the CD20 protein marker on B cells to suppress their function. It is used to treat B-cell cancers like lymphomas and leukemias. Rituximab can also be used to reduce inflammation caused by autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Since it specifically targets B-cells, Rituximab does not cause the generic chemotherapy side effects like bone marrow suppression or GI upset. It can, however, cause an infusion-related reaction so the nurse should be prepared to stop the infusion and notify the provider if they notice any signs of hypotension, tachycardia, and shortness of breath after giving the drug.

Key Points

  • Rituximab
    • Mechanism
      • Monoclonal antibody against CD20
        • CD20 is a protein marker expressed on surface of B cells
    • Clinical Use
      • Cancers
        • Lymphomas
        • Leukemias
      • Rheumatoid arthritis/Anti-inflammatory
    • Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
      • Infusion Reaction Syndrome
        • Hypotension
        • Tachycardia
        • Shortness of breath
        • Rash
        • If the patient experiences an infusion reaction syndrome, the nurse should stop the infusion, notify the provider, and be prepared to administer epinephrine, steroids, and oxygen if needed.
      • Since rituximab is targeted therapy, general chemotherapy side effects (alopecia, bone marrow suppression, and GI disturbances) are minimal compared to other chemotherapy medications.
      • Hyperglycemia
      • Tumor lysis syndrome