Rituximab Maintenance Therapy Recommended for Follicular Lymphoma

A newly-published Cochlan Library review recommends that doctors begin rituximab maintenance therapy for patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma (a form of non-Hodgkin's), as the therapy allows patients to live longer, without symptoms, between treatment and relapse.

Follicular lymphoma has long been regarded as a tough NHL to treat. It's slow-growing and since neither chemo nor radiation has shown to be convincingly effective. Patients, whose symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, night sweats, weight loss and fever, were sometimes told to simply watch and wait for the symptoms to worsen.

Furthermore there's no cure for Follicular lymphoma, so even following successful inductive treatment, relapse is a foregone conclusion. The review's conclusions should therefore be received as good news.

The drawbacks: Rituximab is very expensive, it's an intravenous drug (as opposed to something you could take at home), some patients don't respond to it, and others on it often develop infections (because it kills B lymphocytes, cancerous or otherwise).

Click HERE for the manufacturer's information page on Rituxan and Lymphoma.

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